Do you need to get to know your dog better?
1. Catch your dog doing something right!
Awesome! Communicate with them, make sure they know when you like what they are doing and also when you aren’t so keen on their behaviour! If you like it, party on! If you aren’t so happy with what’s occurring then please try to let them know in a kind and fair way. We use warnings; we also follow up with a consequence. What is a consequence I hear you ask? Well you could pop them in their crate or you could take them by their collar and just give them a moment to re-think their decision.
2. Get to know what makes your dog tick!
If you understand what your dog enjoys then you will have the key to your dog’s heart. You will be able to communicate more easily with him and you will find life much more fun together. Get a handle on reinforcement – it is really key. For example food, toys, games with you, chasing birds, swimming or generally being a dog and rolling in mud! Harness reinforcement and you will find the rest plain sailing.
3. Where did your dog come from?
Was he originally a hunting dog, a herding dog, a working type or a dog bred to look great in the show ring? What your dog inherits is not only looks but also characteristics and many of these are already established in his genetic make-up long before you ever met him. So find out what your dog is bred to do, make it your mission to understand him better and you will be able to enjoy him so much more.
4. Watch your dog in the house.
All great dogs need great rest time. Observe what they do and how they behave when the dynamics of the house change and try to give them calm information or boundaries to allow these times to happen. For example, we have beds in the house for our dogs, when people visit we ask our dogs to settle on their beds so that our visitors and our dogs can have time apart but also relax in each other’s presence. Teach a raised bed or boundary control. It’s awesome!
5. Understand your dog’s needs.
Just because sometimes you don’t approve of things doesn’t mean that they are wrong. For example, dogs love to sniff genitalia, whether that be other dogs or other species! There are certain times where it is inappropriate. However, please don’t think that on a walk when your dog greets another dog in this way that they are being rude. They are simply greeting, kind of shaking hands! In fact in their world it’s rather polite!
About the Author: Lauren Langman is responsible for the design and development of all Devon Dogs classes, events and workshops. She competes in Agility at Grade 7, the highest rank of competition in the British agility arena. She regularly competes and wins at top agility events in the UK including Crufts and Olympia, and has represented the UK at World Agility Championship level on many occasions.