This weeks dog training tip is Be Confident! In last weeks tip I discussed the need to be a strong leader for your dog. Your dog relies on you to make rules and set boundaries. He really looks up to you and relies on you to teach him about the world around him. This is where your confidence as the pack leader comes in. From the way you give commands to the way you hold his leash tells your dog who’s in control. One thing that we sometimes do not realize as dog owners is that your dog will feed off of your energy. If you’re lacking confidence your dog will quickly pick up on that vibe. A lack of confidence will cause you to hesitate, which will cause your dog to not respond. Then, you become frustrated; your dog responds less; you get discouraged; your dog gets discouraged. Eventually your dog associates you with being a source of frustration and not fun, then you have a dog that just does not listen to you.
Training with confidence is important for success and is an integral part of building the relationship between you and your dog. So, here’s what I suggest:
- Inspire your dog by walking with purpose and intention. Don’t slouch. Walk with your head up, shoulders back and be confident!
- Don’t hesitate. This will signal to your dog that something is wrong and he may look for potential problems or ways to escape, which completely breaks focus and creates anxiety.
- Have the proper tools for training. Do your research on the best harnesses, leashes or collars for your dog. Make sure they fit right and make sure they’re comfortable.
- Stay relaxed, patient and calm. If you’re anxious, your dog will be anxious and it just will not work. Dogs need a confident and strong leader.
- Reduce the tension in the leash by holding it loosely. Many dog owners feel that to have control of their dog while walking they have to hold the leash so tight. Tension in the leash sends a message to your dog to pull. Then, since he pulls, you pull and it becomes a power struggle.
- Be fun and interesting. Reward good behaviour with treats or praise or both. Use different tones in your voice to show enthusiasm. Keep your dog always guessing and wondering what’s going to happen next.
Remember, there is much value and benefit when you take the time to train your dog. Be patient with yourself. Be patient with your dog. Present yourself as a strong, confident leader and watch the bond between you grow.
Stay tuned next week for tip #4 – Treats
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Wishing you a great day.