Sit, shake and drop – new owners are always keen to teach their dog tricks, but Michelle Cassidy, owner and trainer of Unleashed Dog Training and Daycare in Shepparton, says the first step in training the obedience is about building a strong, committed relationship.
“I would say commitment is more important…if your dog is at the end of the leash and not paying attention to you, then telling him to sit down is pointless,” she said.
The most common behavioral problem Cassidy sees in the dogs she works with is getting overexcited by other dogs, which potentially becomes unmanageable.
The best way to deal with this behavior is to teach them to focus only on you, Cassidy said.
“If your dog actively chooses to interact and be with his handler, no matter what the environment presents, whether it’s people, other dogs, cars, or bikes,” he said. she declared.
Once that commitment is there, an owner can develop that communication system where a dog will obey commands, Cassidy said.
“The first step is useless without the second step, building a strong communication system,” she said.
“Regardless of the behavior problem, a reliable communication system is really important.
“Having a way to tell the dog when he’s doing the right thing and when he’s doing the wrong thing.
Ms Cassidy said a major source of behavioral problems came from dogs not getting enough mental or physical stimulation throughout the day.
Play is a great way to encourage good behavior and meet your dog’s needs.
“Dogs need to be genetically fulfilled. Dogs are naturally wired to chase, hunt, and catch prey. A walk around the block does none of that for them,” Ms Cassidy said.
“Interactive play with your dog is a form of mental and physical exercise. Developing obedient behaviors and all that mental stimulation.”
According to Ms. Cassidy, the best thing to do is to play tug of war.
“It’s a common misconception that tug of war causes aggression, it’s actually quite the opposite for your dog,” she said.
“It’s a really, really good commitment-building exercise. You know, our dogs are genetically programmed to do that.
“And that’s an activity they can do, which can be a really good relationship for your dog as well.”
But Ms Cassidy said it was important to put strict limits on a dog’s behavior during play so the dog knows not to play tug of war with your sweater sleeve.
“By teaching your dog the appropriate time and place to display this behavior, it’s less likely to show up in other areas,” she said.
Unleashed Dog Training offers private lessons by appointment, and group sessions every evening during the week and on Saturday during the day.
For more information call 0490 152 665 or visit unleasheddogdaycare.com.au