How to Maintain Your Love Affair with Your Dog - Training Tips for a Happy and Healthy Relationship with Your Canine Companion © 2004-2005 by Peggie Arvidson-Dailey
When I first laid eyes on my little ball of black fluff at an adoption fair, I knew there was no turning back. My husband and I had been looking for just right dog for months, and all research and networking had finally paid off. There was no doubt in my mind that we had found most perfect, precious four-legged family member in world.
As luck would have it, adoption fair was right around corner from our home, this gave us a great opportunity for a home visit at end of event. I ran home, scrubbed and cleaned and did everything I could to make sure our home was ‘puppy worthy’. As soon as she arrived with her foster mom, puppy made sure to let us know she was in right place…but more about that later.
Because both of us had lived with dogs before, I was sure we knew everything we needed to start off on right foot and have a loving and healthy relationship with our dog. I was only partially right. Through lots of hands-on experience and a great deal of patience and training, I’ve learned a number of ways to maintain that original love-at-first sight feeling.
Training and Behavior
□ Train your dog. Whether you are ‘dogs should always walk appropriately on leash,’ type of person, or one who lets your canine companion cuddle up in bed with you, you will benefit from appropriate training. Not only do you want to potty train your puppy so that he understands appropriate place to relieve himself (not on new carpet!), you also want to establish and maintain a set of expectations early. Good training is based on positive reinforcement and takes into consideration age and breed of your dog. You may find a trainer through referrals of friends and family, through your vet, or pet-specialty store. You can also read a number of excellent books on dog training. Some great books are, “How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend,” and “The Art of Raising a Puppy,” by Monks of New Skete, “The Power of Positive Dog Training,” by Pat Miller, and “The Other End of Leash” by Patricia B. McConnell, PhD. (Any book by these authors are great places to start your self education.) A good place to look for more information about training your dog is Association of Pet Dog Trainers.
□ Be Consistent. According to Training through Positive Reinforcement, “learning consists of trying out new behaviors and seeing what happens as a consequence of those behaviors.” If your dog has been taught to avoid jumping on people, allowing him to jump just this once on his favorite person is going to confuse him – he’ll think behavior is okay. However, by withholding attention or treats from him until he learns to sit and wait for a stranger or his favorite person you are maintaining consistency in his training regimen. As long as your pet understands what you expect and you behave in a consistent manner throughout your relationship, you will have a blissful relationship.