March 31, 2021
Communication is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to relationships. And it’s even more challenging when you’re dealing with another species!
Not only is it extremely frustrating and embarrassing when your dog flat out ignores your commands, but it can also be potentially dangerous, AND lead to accidents and aggressive behavior.
Here are five strategies to help improve your communication skills with your furry friend:
1. Keep it Consistent
Your dog’s greatest desire is to please you—and they’re mysteriously good at it. But they aren’t mind readers. That’s why the best way to help communication is to be consistent. Make an effort to praise your pooch every time they do something correct. There is nothing more confusing for a dog (well, for humans too!) than inconsistency on positive re-enforcement.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
Cesar Millan, TV’s “Dog Whisperer” recommends focusing on the basics before attempting the fancy stuff. “Does your dog truly know the command? It can take hundreds or even thousands of repetitions for some dogs to learn a new skill,” Millan says. “Practice makes perfect. You may need to focus on training again to ensure your dog really has it down.”
Spend some time practicing good behavior. The more you work on communication skills with your dog, the more in-sync you will become. During playtime, spend 15 minutes or so going over some basic commands like “sit” or “stay.” And remember: repetition reaps rewards.
3. Positive Reinforcement
Are there times for punishment? Yes. But your preferred modus operandi should be to teach with positivity. Hitting a dog is not going to achieve the desired effect. Scolding a dog is not optimal either. Remember, you and your dog should be a team when it comes to communication. Instead of blaming your dog, maybe it’s time to examine your communication skills. How is your tone? Your body language? Your facial expressions? Your dog will pick up on your vibe.
For a special treat, feed your dog a tasty Ready Pet Go! Multivitamin Chew as a reward at the end of a mini-session.
4. Focus on Your Dog’s Mood
Your dog’s disobedience may be a sign that something is wrong. According to the experts at the American Kennel Club, “If your dog is fearful of something in the environment, like loud noises or another dog, self-preservation instincts kick in, and he’s less capable of more complex thinking.” Make sure you have your dog’s undivided attention when conducting obedience training. Otherwise you may be wasting your time . . . and your dog’s time.
5. Set Reasonable Expectations & Be Patient
Your dog should be your buddy, not a circus performer. So don’t go overboard on the tricks. Communicating with your dog is similar to communicating with humans: The process takes time and there will be times when the two of you just won’t be in sync. Don’t worry. It happens. Patience and a forgiving heart are the two biggest factors to success.
If you continue to struggle with your dog, you may want to talk to your vet about behavioral issues. Or ask for a recommendation for a local canine obedience school.