We all want to be good doggy parents but sometimes our best instincts actually hinder us. In the article to follow, we’re going to outline some common mistakes owners make, and what needs to happen to get the most out of your relationship together.

Make a dog work for its treats and food

No one likes a lazy person, and no one likes a lazy animal either. So why are you offering up treats galore when your dog hasn’t earned it?

Try introducing a reward system into the fold. If your animal does what you want her to do, she can get a biscuit. If she doesn’t, there’s nothing up for grabs.

The same goes for mealtimes. Thinking of serving up the evening meal on a plate? Go for a walk first, dog in tow, and only then hand over the juicy nibbles.

Not only will this create obedience in your dog, it’ll actually make her happier too. Dogs like to stay busy, and she’ll feel more fulfilled as a result.

Stop treating your dog like a human, and start treating it more like the furry friend it is

It’s amazing the number of owners who issue commands to their pet as if they’re talking to a human. Long and complicated instructions, commands or admonishments leap from an owner’s mouth and the dog is left in a state of bewilderment, able to react only to our tone of voice. Often as we get angry the dog gets excited, mistaking our animated demeanour for something positive.

To get the most out of the relationship, try issuing simple behaviour and reward interactions: e.g., “sit now”, followed by a cookie. The immediacy of the reward to the command will go some way to teaching your dog good habits.
But trying to reason with them like a person? Not gonna work.

Learn to relax more around your dog

They might not be able to understand our words accurately, but dogs can certainly sense our emotions, and there’s nothing that sets them off like nervous energy. In many respects they’re mirrors to our personalities, capable of absorbing and reflecting our own jumpy habits.

The difference-maker? Learning to stay cool and calm.

The next time you go for a walk and see another dog approaching on a leash, try this: instead of tensing for a confrontation and pulling your dog towards you, act extremely calm, and take no notice of the approaching strangers at all. By getting tense you’re only telling your dog to focus on the stimuli.

Act serene? You’ve got a much better chance of avoiding a barking match.

Keep her active

Exercise is the number one thing a dog needs to stay healthy (besides twice-yearly trips to the vet, of course) so in 2020, make it a priority to up the number of hours you spend outdoors getting your sweat on together. Your animal will be all the happier for it and she’ll repay you with a more stable mood and a better relationship with food. Obesity breeds lethargy and is a silent killer, so get moving together!

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