Why Consistency Is key To Happiness
Does it seem like your dog just doesn’t get it sometimes? Maybe you finally decided to take dog ownership seriously and train your pup to be an obedient soldier. Like humans, dogs require a steady regiment to truly master obedience and other tricks. Too many owners spend quality training time with their four-legged companions to later ignore the consistent regiment required to cement the desired behavior in their little heads. If you’re not consistent with your requests from the dog, there will be too many “grey areas” and the animal will become confused leading to more errors in your dog’s decision making. Would you spend months in the gym to later lose it all and hate yourself? The key to a happy and healthy dog/human relationship is training consistency.
Importance Of Regular Training
Most of us are not professional dog trainers, but our canine companions still need basic training to help keep them safe. It’s important to remember that to the dog, a lack of consistency just reinforces the behavior. Doesn’t matter if it’s dogs, cats, people or even elephants learning is achieved through identifying patterns. You don’t want to find your self in a dire situation, calling your pets name in desperation as he/she runs into the street. Be consistent with your commands. If “down means lay down, don’t say “down” when you just want them off the couch. Dogs can not speak our language and they will always give you a confusing look. Regular training is the key factor of owning a obedient and respectful dog.
Benefits Of Regular Training:
- Deeper Connection: If you spend quality time training your beloved pet regularly, it will strengthen your bond. They will see you as the pack leader and provide respect.
- Listens In Dire Situations: You’re walking in the woods and they spot a deer in the distance. Dog takes off and has zero interest in the humans command to come back. This can be deadly in the city with cars roaming the streets.
- Take Them Anywhere: With an obedient dog you can do just about anything together. Enter shops, visit friends, and much more. You will never worry about bad behavior.
- Mental Health: Dogs are pack animals. Your pet will feel like he/she is contributing to the pack.
Consistency In The Home
Dogs, people, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, zebras, it doesn’t matter which animal you are taking about. Learning is achieved through identifying patterns and most importantly, the significance of the pattern. No matter the breed, all training will begin and end in the residence. One of the biggest mistakes families tend to make is not working together to achieve the common goal. The husband and wife may have purchased an expensive couch and would’t want the dogs dirty paws near it. Unfortunately the kids will let the dog all over it when the parents are not around. This behavior only confuses the animal when he/she gets yelled at. “I don’t want my dog to play rough, but my husband and my oldest son wrestle with him, and now he is tackling my 5 year old”. It is imperative that the family agrees the accomplish the mission together.
Other Home Exercises To Develop Obedience:
- Control The Food: Never set the bowl down and allow the dog to eat. Make them wait and ask for permission. Read “How To Feed Your Dog Like An Alpha” for more details.
- Develop Boundaries: Keep them from entering sensitive areas such as computers and other areas with cables. We have a small part of the kitchen that our dog can not enter. She stands just outside where the tiles start.
- Leave and Enter First: Going out for a walk? Great! Be sure to always have the dog sit and let you walk through the door first. Same goes for entering the home.
- Earn Treats: Never just treat your dog. Have them do a chain of commands before giving them that delicious treat.
Take It Outside
Enter any dog park around the world and notice a trend with pet owners inside. You’ll hear comments like “Oh, he was like this when we got him”, or “My dog listens until x happens”. What nearly all dog owners don’t realize is that they will teach the dog a desired command in a controlled environment with zero distractions and never take the training outside. Fighter Orien Lee said “You can skip rope, drill for hours, or work the pads, but if you don’t spar, then you won’t get better, plain and simple”. Like contact sports, owners must utilize what they’ve thought their dog and practice it in the real world. Cars, other dogs, people, and smells can get your dog excited and drag you around. If you never practice basic commands out in the real world your dog will get the impression that they are the boss. Its imperative that the dog sees us as the pack leader and not the other way around.
Training Consistency Outside:
- The Leash: The most dreaded and embarrassing time of owning a dog is leash training. No one wants to be seen getting dragged around by their dog. You must correct this immediately and be patient. The key is to ALWAYS correct puling on the leash long after you “think” it was fixed. This unwanted behavior can and will comeback.
- Crossing The Street: This is quite similar to leaving and entering the home. Have the dog sit at every street crossing and wait until you say its okay to move. This can save your pets life in the rare occasion of the leash braking. No one wants to see their pet run into traffic.
- Leave It and Drop It: People just love to leave their garbage all over the floor. Teaching your dog to leave something or drop it can save you a trip to the vet. Consistency is key to ensure they drop/leave it on command.
- Correct Aggression: This will follow you forever. Never let your dog be aggressive toward people or other dogs. Be sure to correct this behavior before it happens. Read “The Dog Body Language Translator” to spot the problem before it occurs.
But I Don’t Have Time
We understand that some folks have busy schedules and simply can not invest quality time with their pets. While this can hinder the steps above, you can always implement them to any schedule. Following just a few of these steps can drastically improve the relationship. If you struggle to find time to consistently work with your dog, simply apply them to what ever you’re doing currently. Simply controlling the food can have a dramatic effect on how your dog sees you. He/she will know that you are the only source of food so they will pay way more attention to your commands. You can have the dog do a command before tossing the ball in the yard. Its important to consistently have them work for rewards. It only takes a few seconds and creates massive obedience.
Consistent Diet Will Improve Health
Healthy is one of the most overlooked elements in dog ownership. All we want to do is give them delicious treats and smother them with love. Consistency in diet will drastically reduce your vet bills and ensure that your pet lives a long and happy life. Studies have shown that an estimated 40-50% of dogs are overweight, which significantly increases their chance of contracting serious diseases and illnesses. Furthermore, pet stores are littered with cheep dog food that coin dangerous chemicals and unhealthy fillers. Keeping your dog on a nutritious diet not only helps to keep your him or her at a healthy weight, but may also reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
How Can I Improve My Dogs Diet?
- Get The Right Food: Investing in the right food can be tricky. Inexpensive food is damaging and fattening. Dog fed a high quality, meat based diet has a shinier coat, less skin problems, more energy, less allergies and so on. Quality food companies such as Orijen go to great lengths to ensure their product contains up to 90% meat.
- Typical Treats Are Unhealthy: If possible, boil some chicken just for your dog and leave it in the refrigerator. Almost all dog treats like Puperoni and Milk Bone are jam packed with terrible chemicals and preservatives. Look for treats with little ingredients that you can actually understand.
- Regular Feeding Schedule: Most experts recommend feeding your dog twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Follow the routine and do not refill the bowl.
- Consistency: Its okay to give them something unhealthy here and there. Be sure to fill 80% of your dogs diet with healthy options.
Regular Exercise Is Crucial
You’re doing the dog a massive disservice if you only take your pet outside to relieve itself. Big or small, young or old, dogs need to exercise daily. Regular exercise has more benefits than most would think. Yes, it helps to prevent weight gain, but it can drastically tame the animal. Too many dog owners find them selves battling an “aggressive” or “over excited” dog when all they have to do is give it two hours per day of solid stimulation. Keep in mind that most pets are locked in the home for over 20 hours of the day. That’s almost as long as solitary confinement, whitch keeps an inmate locked away from others for 22-24 hours of the day.
Benefits of Consistent Exercise:
- Weight Control: Overweight dogs are less active and are more prone to heart diseases and depression. Obese dogs will also have arthritis and may develop diabetes. The vet will love your “chubby” payments.
- Keep Calm: Walks can help to alleviate extra energy your pet may have, calming it down and reducing any hyperactivity, excitability, and even nighttime activity. A walk can help your pet to feel more relaxed and sleepy rather than restless at bedtime.
- Stay Out Of Trouble: Behaviors such as knocking over furniture or jumping on people can be a sign of pent up energy. Digging holes in the yard and constant barking are all signs of not enough stimulation.
- Friends Till The End: Spending time with your pet is extremely important. It strengthens the bond between you and leads to a strong, trusting relationship. Walk to strengthen your bond and your bodies!
- Keeps You Healthy: Another perk of owning a dog is that it forces you to go outside with them. Share the experience and take the dog hiking so you both get stimulation.
Visit The Vet Regularly
Veterinary care is critical to a dog’s well being. It is also important for an owner to get their questions answered by a qualified professional. If your puppy is under 1 years of age, you’ll need to bring your little one in for vaccines every 3 to 4 weeks until he’s 16 weeks old. They will get shots for rabies, distemper-parvo, and other diseases. They may also need shots to protect against health woes such as kennel cough, influenza, and Lyme disease. One to 10 years you want to visit the vet yearly for a head to tail examination. Anything over two years should be discussed with the veterinarian.
Benefits of Seeing The Vet:
- Miscellaneous Tasks: If you fear clipping your dogs nails, have the vet do it for you. Don’t be afraid to ask them to do certain tests or tasks that you may not be comfortable with. Most vets are willing to do so.
- Blood Work: Get an accurate idea of your pets health and see if any diet or exercise change is needed.
- Discover Problems Quickly: Catching dangerous cancers and other diseases quickly will make treatment much easier. Its important to get your pet the best care to avoid bigger problems in the future.
Consistency can improve just about anything. If you have a long term goal of finally getting in shape, its consistency that will get you there. Begin studying dogs and their behaviors to quickly discover that they are social animals just like us. Without any real consistency, bad habits and destructive behaviors begin to surface. If you feed your dog right, train them, provide stimulation, and love them, your bond is unbreakable. Taking them on adventures and keeping up with their health will make the later years the best years. Consistency is the key element of owning a dog that listens and follows the rules. Always remember to use positive reinforcement when correcting unwanted behavior and consult a professional before training yourself.
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