We recently decided to become a foster for dogs. I got into a conversation with a rep from a local animal shelter and next thing I know, I’m signing my name and committing to housing and feeding one dog at a time. I’ve had dogs my whole life. How hard can it be to foster.
I failed to think about the state of mind many of these dogs would be in when they entered my house. Some of these dogs haven’t been out of their crates in years so having a big house and yard to run around in, and a bunch of people and children to play with, is a bit overwhelming. This recent dog we’ve had for 3 months. She’s sweet as can be but we just haven’t been able to find her forever home yet.
One issue we’ve run into is that this dog is “mostly” trained to go to the bathroom outside. What I mean by “mostly” is that it could go weeks since she’s gone in doors but I’ll wake up one morning (like I did today) and there it is… she’s peed in my closet. Always on the carpet, never on the hardwood, of course.
Anyway. Here are some tips to train your dog:
Your pet doesn’t hate you and is acting crazy just to get under your skin. No, it’s just being crazy since it hasn’t discovered any other way to act yet. Nevertheless, that is going to change after you use these tips and start to steer the negative behavior into good behavior from your pet:
Make use of the pet’s name
What happens when you hear your name called? You turn your head, right? The same is true with most animals. Use the dogs name early and often. Soon they’ll start to pick up that their name is important and they should listen when you call it. If you use the name when good things are coming, they’ll be much more likely to come, so call them by name when calling to go for a walk, for feeding (and treat) times, and for play. This will teach the canine to focus when you say their name. Important thing to bear in mind, never ever penalize a pet when you call them by name or you’ll lose much of the hard work and progress you’ve made.
Throttle your expectations
Don’t expect too much of the dog, too early. As an example, young puppies will certainly be young puppies. Do you really want a young puppy that knows and follows all commands the second it’s born? Being awkward and in their own world is what makes them so cute, just like young children. The key to training them to act appropriately, is consistency.
Pet dogs enjoy routines so shot to routine activities at roughly the same time every day. You want your dog to get into a pattern where he know’s things are coming and is thrilled for them. If your pet is excited for it he’s much more most likely to prosper, just as if human beings are delighted for something they’re more likely to succeed.
Learn to read your pet dog’s signals when training, so that you can see the difference between confusion and disobedience. A different response is needed from you when your pet does not comprehend a command versus when they understand the command but choose not to obey. Understanding your canine’s signals, can help you to select the better response.
Housebreaking a pet dog requires time. The secret is to be consistent when teaching it where not to go and consistent in the message when telling it where to you want it to go. This might be on a pad inside your house, on a lead when you take him outside or running free in a fenced backyard.
Reinforce good behavior
Show your dog that you enjoy them and are proud of them. It’s simple in dog training to focus on the negative and attempt to show your pet what they are doing is wrong. Make sure that you likewise work to award the positive and applaud them when they’re doing well.
Focus on making the training sessions with your pet enjoyable. All animals act much better when they’re having fun. Use whatever your pet dog likes, toys, treats, etc to get and keep it’s attention to help make training a game rather than a chore.
When bringing a new young puppy home, plan to keep him on the leash and in your sight for a couple of days. When you can’t be with him, have a safe place for him to go, preferably a crate since dogs don’t usually like to go to the bathroom near where they sleep or spend much time, so take advantage of this natural behavior to teach them to make use of the restroom outside or in a preferred area.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Much like parenting, if you’re about to lose your mind, don’t be afraid to talk to somebody who has more expertise in the area and can help you see faster results. If you aren’t having success training your dog by yourself, working with a trainer can help. Trainers are specially certified to work with challenging dogs, and find simple methods to modify bothersome habits.
If you’ve mastered dog training then I’d encourage you to open your home to a foster dog, as well. We’ve had a couple for as short as 10 days and others for a few months. Either way, it’s been a very rewarding experience. Or, if you can’t help by fostering, considering using a skill set you do have to help a local shelter or organization. For example, you can sew bandannas for the animals, donate money, or even do like this company did and donated the website development for a local shelter.
We can all do something. What can you do. Merry Christmas, everyone!