How to Bond with Your Dog by Incorporating Obedience

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puppy training, dog training, dog obedience training

Ahhhhh obedience! It is the age old struggle between canine and human.

Decades ago, we were told that our dogs needed corrections and an alpha.

Yank the leash up for “sit” to force the dog into the position.

Slap the dog in the face with your hand; use a hand signal and force him into a down, so that he will submit to your commands.

This kind of obedience isn’t exactly conducive to building a great relationship with your dog.

It also works around the concept of letting your dog adopt bad behaviors and then correcting them. Both ideals, I think, are ludicrous.

Bonding With Your Dog Through Obedience Training

Next came the reward based trainers, luring and rewarding good behaviors.

This is where “Dog Obedience” went from being tedious for the dog AND the person, to actually being a little bit of fun for both.

The dog enjoyed the training and being rewarded.

And, the human half of this situation began to enjoy shaping behaviors and “teaching” their dog in a way that was not unfair or abusive.

Avoiding Bad Behavior

This mentality also teaches the human and the dog to AVOID bad behavior.

Instead of slyly watching and waiting for the dog to make a misstep or mistake so that the human can swoop in and “correct” the dog, we are encouraged to avoid the misstep or mistake.

Let’s Take Counter Surfing

Old school dog training would tell you:

puppy training, dog training, dog obedience training

Use tabasco or hot pepper sauce so that when the dog steals the food his mouth will burn and he will learn to leave your food alone.

Attach a shake can (a can filled with pennies) to an item of food so that when the dog steals the food, the shake can of pennies will scare him.

Set him up to make a mistake: set food out close to the edge of the counter and then hide and wait, using a spray bottle, shake can or other means of correction when the dog steals the food, which should keep him from stealing in the future.

New school dog training would tell you:

Teach the dog that you keep the best rewards and that you reward him for the good behaviors of “sit” and “down” and “four on the floor”.

Set the dog up for good behavior by setting low level food at the edge of the counter for the dog to see/sniff.

Teach the dog that “leave it” or “sitting” or “down” will bring rewards from you; rewards that are better than anything that is on the counter.

By using jackpots and training, you can decrease the desirability of the item you are leaving on the counter with success.

Situation one waits for the dog to show the bad behavior.

Situation two teaches the dog to never steal food in the first place!

Positive Reinforcement Dog Training in and of itself increases the human/pet bond because it alleviates depraved feelings that come with bad behavior.

Add Some Fun

Now, how about you up the ante just a little bit and begin playing with your dog while you train?

My motto, and what I am known for in this business, is “having fun training”.

I find that if the dog is having a great time and playing games, the human, by default, is also having fun.

And, we are much more likely to do things that are FUN!!!

Dogs Can’t Train Themselves

Dogs can’t train themselves, no matter how badly they want their training!

It requires a human to teach them, and let’s admit that we will make more time for something if we find it enjoyable.

How?

First make sure your dog can play and feels comfortable doing so with you.

puppy training, dog training, dog obedience trainingAnd, devote at least a couple weeks trying to engage your dog in play!

Can you train your puppy without play?

Yes.

But you will both get more out of it if you can play together.  It just makes life more fun!

Take him shopping and find a toy and a game that you both enjoy.

Ask him to perform a task he knows.

When he performs this task with perfection reward him with a game of tug or throw his toy to retrieve (if he enjoys retrieving).

Laugh!

Praise him!

Pet him!

And, play for a moment or two.

Then, when you ask for him to release the toy, ask for another sequence of obedience.

“Watch me, Heel…….. Sit, Down, Sit”, then reward with another burst of the joy that comes from a game!

You see, positive reinforcement and communication will improve your bond with your dog. But adding a few games here and there will bring that bond and enjoyment down to a level that you will both adore as you get to know one another on another level.

Don’t believe me?

Try it!

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There are 8 Comments

  1. Gloria says:

    Love this. We have rescued Siberian Husky who was not encouraged to play due to destructive chewing of reward toys. I’m encouraged to try again. It’s definitely a missing element in our relationship.

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  2. Mickey says:

    My year and a half Shepherd was so smart…but SO ball obsessed it was making me seriously doubt my choice of a new companion. In only TWO WEEKS !!!! I have incorporated Training..with her ball drive and WOW !!! This dog is BRILLIANT !!!
    Now..instead of her insisting on me throwing the ball again and again? I have taught her to come to heel position and sit when she returns the ball. I praise…tell her GIVE…and throw the ball again ! It took about 4 times of showing her heel position for her to come running back to me circling to heel position and sitting. I am AMAZED ! AND? She hardly wags her tail..but now? She comes back..sits in heel position..and is waggin her tail like crazy !! Like..”I did GOOD mom right??”
    I am also making her DROP halfway back to me….Sit..half way back to me- stay..half way back to me while I go to HER side. She is amazing !!! I didn’t even realize she KNEW these things I just use commands in every day life and she was learning all the time !
    NO formal training here..every day life is the best teacher.

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  3. Cecilia Kennedy says:

    How do you teach a dog to heel?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    you can look for articles on leash manners and heel by using the search box at the top of the page

    [Reply]

  4. I have a black lab, he is smart and learns fast, I have no problems or complaints. Well, I do have one problem and that is that I adopted him when he was roughly a year old, and is now 7. His name is Jake, and he is not a kisser. He won’t give me or anybody else kisses. I try to kiss him and he will move his head out of the way, but he is a great cuddler, and lays side to side with me in bed. I still give him hugs and cuddles and plenty of kisses, I just wonder if anyone else had ever had a furry kid that just wasn’t in to kissing?

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  5. Jeanine Ryan says:

    As soon as you show me how to do these training techniques i immediately do them with my dog. Coco is always eager to learn + it usually takes me anything from 5 to 10 goes in a row of repeating the new task and she has it. Coco is now 3 years old and im keen to continue her training and start the distraction stuff as she still gets very excited around others and therefore makes it harder for her to control herself or pay attention to me. All in all everything you’ve taught me has worked simply & easily for me to adapt to be able to teach it to my dog so thank you very much

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  6. Judy Clemments says:

    i PURCHASED HANDS OFF & HOUSE MANNERS. I WOULD LOVE ANY TIPS ON HOW TO TRAIN MORE THAN 1 DOG & WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TRAIN EACH ONE INDIVIDUALLY (I DON’T HAVE A CRATE BUT I DO HAVE A DOG CLICKER) ALL 3 DOGS FOLLOW ME WHEREVER I GO SO IT IS DIFFICULT TO TRAIN USING THE CLICKER CAUSE THEY CAN ALL HEAR IT & THINK THEY ALL DESERVE A TREAT EVEN IF ONLY ONE OF THEM OBEYS COMMAND. HOW DO I OVERCOME THIS.

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