With Valentine Day approaching, you may have to think about the love in your life. If your dog is on that list, you don’t have to give him a soft card or red squeaky toy to show him how much you love him. You must be honest about your daily and weekly routine with your dog this month of love to see if you are sending him the right love signals.
Exercise. We often reference exercise for your dog in our articles but it is important! Your dog depends on you to give him the active lifestyle that his personality, age and breed needs. Without it, your dog is more likely to display certain behaviors that are not actually acceptable or easy to love. To help you combat unnecessary chewing, digging, scratching or other bad behavior, get your dog to a neighborhood walk at least daily. Typically, your dog doesn’t care if it is; he loves to go out and stretch his legs, bond with his human and smell some new things.
Lead. When it comes to being a leader you can show your dog that you love him by being the leader of your house. We love our dog dogs a leader. When he knows that you are a leader, the dog relaxes and can focus on being a dog. Power battles between humans and dogs can lead to unwanted behaviors, so be the boss! While you may feel pressured to baby your dog, he won’t understand your care. He understands what leadership behavior is.
Routine. Dogs love routines, like many humans. There is comfort in knowing what comes next for everybody, but in particular for dogs. If your dog knows your daily routine for meals, treats, obedience, exercise and other milestones, he is more likely to be calm and obeyed. Show some love to your dog by sticking to a routine and not figuring him out when he gets food or comes out of his kennel for the day. Unfortunately, homes without solid pet routines can lead to anxious dogs that are more susceptible to separation anxiety and other behavioral traits.
Expectations. Be sure that your dog knows what you expect him to do and that you keep your expectations consistent. It can be confusing for a dog when a guest is over but not during any other time to obey commands. Your dog wants to please you, but if he does not know what he does actually, he can become confused or simply naughty. Also, be sure that the whole house knows and sticks to the expectations. This way your dog knows how he must behave no matter if you give him a command or if your teen does it.
Affection. Take a look at your affection patterns with your dog last night. Do you offer a lot of praise when he follows a command or when he learns something new? If you do, you are showing your pooch that when he obeys he gets lots of pets and loves. This is a clear sign that your dog can easily understand. Your dog is an excellent learner of body language so you need to watch how your body communicates with him as well. Rightly and often, he will be praised after doing something good.
But affection can also reverse if you are not careful and aware of how and why you show love. For example, if your dog barks crazily every afternoon when school children pass by your window and you give him a rawhide to keep him quiet, he thinks that he is being praised for bluffing and keeping those small children moving along. Be vigilant for when and how you are encouraging your dog to pursue unwanted and unwanted behavior.
Even if you are springing for a cute treat or new toy, know that you can show your dog love during the year with some good habits and encouragement. If you don’t know how to take your dog on walks without lunging and pulling, or if you are not sure that your dog can be trained to stop barking at the passing schoolchildren, give us a call. Our trainers have years of experience working with dogs of all ages and with all sorts of behavior – we love them all!