Simple Ways to Build Household Structure
Is your dog biting at your hands, tugging your pant legs, finding crazy things to get into, or chewing on the sofa? You’re not alone as these are common problems owners face with dog boredom and lack of household structure. By now, we’ve spent over a month in quarantine and our dogs probably already have us trained. We know when they want to go outside, when they are ready to be pet, and some dogs have even realized that if they bring their human a ball, the human will actually throw it! Cleverness at its best.
Some owners have had to endure accidents in the house, and non-stop barking until they release their dog out of the crate. Other owners are just finding out about their dog’s behavior problems, like jumping and pulling on leash. Is it too late to re-hire the dog walker?
I’ll be straight to you. Right now, is probably the best time to train your dog. With a simple toolbox of dog treats, toys, and puzzles, you’ll kick-start your dog into learning a solid training program.
1. Adding Structure:
Both dogs and humans do what works. But did you know that the human doing “what works” may be teaching the dog bad behaviors? Think about it. When your dog barks and gets let outside of the crate, the dog just learned that barking gets him released. For our sake, we have to learn that we can stop almost any unwanted behavior by simply altering how things work for the dog.
Now this is very critical to understand. Our dogs value structure. So, to have mutual fun, you and your pup have to understand and implement daily rules. Rules such as: What gets him out of the crate? What starts a game of fetch? What gets your dog to eat dinner? Check out the examples below to decide which rules work better:
· Dog wants out of the crate: Dog must lay quietly to get released.
· Dog wants dinner: Dog must sit and wait until you release him to eat.
· Dog wants to play: Dog must wait until you ask him to play.
And, just as the dog has to play by the rules, you have to as well. So, remember what you want your dog to do for each behavior and follow through.
Depending on the breed, this will depend on the amount of physical exercise that is needed. Generally, large dogs need more physical exercise than smaller dogs, but this is not the case in all dogs. It is important to look up your dog’s breed and research the requirements for their specific breed. Additionally, there are two types of exercise: Physical and Mental.
Physical exercise is doing such things as running or jumping. Games you can play that increase physical exercise would be such games like fetch and chase. While mental exercise is a bit different. With mental exercises, the dog learns how to use their instinctual scents to figure something out. These boost confidence in dogs and wear the dog out just as much as physical can. Games you can play that increase mental awareness are hide and seek, finding the toys/treats, or food puzzles appropriate for your dog’s level.
It is important to incorporate both mental and physical exercise into your dog’s routine. A well-balanced dog should have both the physical and mental outlets to think clearly and feel properly worn out. Other outlets for mental and physical work are to hire a dog walker, get your dog into a daycare/training program, or have them practice a dog-friendly sport outdoors.
Training is one of the three highest fundamentals to this list. Our goal is to properly bridge the communication gap between owner and dog. Through training, you’ll teach your dog how to understand the basic cues. Learning what sit, down, and leave it mean aren’t only good behaviors, but they are words that can save a dog’s life. Dogs thrive on reward-based training; therefore, control the rewards.
However, we must understand that it is up to a dog to decide what they are motivated by. What is really encouraging the dog to learn? What does the dog love the most and want to work for? Start your journey by offering a variety of treat flavors and toys. Once your dog’s motivators are known, we’ll be able to really begin the training process.
For additional help, it is best to get your dog in front of a certified trainer who can help guide you and your dog in learning the most effective way to train. Board and train or Day Training Programs also do wonders as the dog trainer will have more time with the dog. Training is very much a lifestyle that must be practiced and managed daily.
There you have it! With proper structure, exercise, and training, you’ll be well on your way to guiding your dog towards fun and challenging way to build their confidence, maintain household structure, build their training cues, and create an outlet for their mental and physical needs.
Ready to take your dog to the next level? Book a consultation here: https://form.jotform.com/200978479683171