Last week, we began the series “10 Resolutions for Rover” in which we are discussing 10 practical training tips for the New Year. The hope is that we can help you have a better relationship with your furry best friend. We began with Resolution #1: No Jumping. Today we continue on in strong fashion to numbers 2 and 3.
Resolution #2: No begging for food.
Sounds simple enough, right? However, it is extremely difficult, because we often reinforce the behavior without even knowing it. My wife, Amy, and I will make some popcorn to enjoy, and without thinking twice we make a game of tossing our dog some as well. In doing so, we are teaching her to look at us when we eat, and expecting to be rewarded for it. We are, in effect, teaching her to beg. It doesn’t help that the food we eat is usually tastier than what our dogs enjoy at mealtime. It is better not to feed the dog while you are eating, and even better to have the dog “stay” in her bed while the family is enjoying mealtime.
Resolution #3: Be consistent.
Dogs, much like children, need clear and consistent messages. This means that everyone in the household should follow the same rules, use the same hand signals, the same voice commands, etc. It does no good for the dog to be allowed on the couch by Junior, but Senior does not allow it. One helpful hint is to have a family meeting to discuss and agree upon the “house rules.” Make the house rules as a family and be consistent across the board.
You now have three resolutions to work on with your canine companion. Join me next week for resolutions 4 and 5.