- Training. Most dogs need some amount of training or some kind of work so you can help them understand whats expected of them. Repeatedly showing them something builds their confidence in you and helps them understand your personal body language. Try setting aside 10-15 minutes a day to show your dog something or to improve a previous behavior.
- Body language. Dogs don't understand the English language, don't get me wrong with repetition any dog can learn a few words and phrases but your puppy doesn't have any spoken language to base it on. The next time you interact with your furry friend try miming what you want. While we may say "Just tell me what you want" a dog would prefer you show them. Use no words besides sounds and lead them through what you are working on slowly and deliberately. You will notice a change in your interactions immediately.
- Allow your dog to interact first. When you are introducing your dog to anything new be sure to watch them and allow them to follow your lead. If your pet is nervous or unsure about interacting with something or someone don't try to talk them through the interaction or explain it to them, instead try to position them so they can comfortably interact with the offending object or person . Allow them to take all the time they need to realize it's a trash can or mailbox, not an imminent threat. Avoid any aggressive or dominant dogs while doing this exercise and be sure not to stare at them as they are working on the problem or they may think you are trying to tell them something.
- Protecting your dog. One of the major factors in everyday life for dogs is security. When they are worried about something for a prolonged period of time and you can't figure out why they are upset it could be because they feel unsafe. Usually this is fostered by poor communication and can be remedied handily. Whenever you practice the three exercises above be sure to watch for fear of something and use that chance to help your little pup by taking on the bad guy for them. Hexe my German Shepherd used to be defensive as a puppy but when we approached a badly behaving animal I would shift her position so she was behind me for just a moment while the offending pet was drug away from a safe distance. Overdoing this can cause anxiety but you will do this exercise the least than any on this list because of the very real opportunity that you will make your dog overly dependent on your protection. Another good example is motorcycles. Many times a client dog who grew up in the country will have little to no experience with loud bikes. I stand in front of them for a second and maintain rigid posture and very often a timid dog will start to build trust in me so when I force them to interact like in exercise 3 they are certain I won't let them get hurt.
- Use appropriate eye contact. When you are doing anything around your pet they may get very excited about something you are looking at or have an outsized reaction to you focusing on them. The short way to explain this is your dog may think you are addressing them when you look at them and try to discern what you want so if you are not interacting with your dog be sure not to stare at them for no reason. I used to catch dogs trying to do something for me while I was on the phone. I soon realized I tend to stare off while I'm on the phone giving my poor dogs the mistaken impression I was trying to say something. This is the easiest exercise on the list. If you notice your dog constantly begging and nuzzling your hand you may need to be more aware of your eye contact. Try to reduce your eye contact and don't give in for begging, not even a glance.
professional dog trainer with Artisan
Lexington / Nicholasville