How to Encourage Positive Behavior in Your Dog

Did you know that positive reinforcement can be one of the most effective ways of training your dog? It can be an easy habit to always scold your dog when he misbehaves, but in actuality, focusing more on rewarding good behavior can have a much greater impact. Here are a few tips to help encourage great behavior from your pooch!

Always reward immediately

Part of the idea of positive reinforcement is to give your dog immediate positive attention as soon as they do what you want. That way, he will feel encouraged to do it again. Praise him, talk to him happily with excitement, and give him lots of pets. And of course, when appropriate, reward with a training treat.

Ignore bad behavior

One of the other pieces of the puzzle is to reward good behavior, but ignore the behavior you don’t want. Dogs crave attention from you, and if doing a certain behavior results in you ignoring him, he’ll quickly learn to do the things that you respond to instead.

Make it a game

Have fun with your dog. Remember, your excitement and enthusiasm is contagious. Your dog will pick up on it and will want to play with you. You and your pooch can engage in fun exercise and activities together, while you’re training him simultaneously.

Keep it short and sweet

A dog’s attention span is not super long – so if you make your training sessions too lengthy, he’ll likely lose focus and you’ll both get frustrated. Instead, keep it fun and short. Be excited to work with him and stay calm and focused yourself. That way you’ll both be able to spend some quality time together while you work on the training.

Be patient

Don’t forget, learning new things isn’t easy for anyone, so be patient with your little guy! He’s doing the best he can and only wants to please you. So be sure to give him lots of encouragement when he makes the right choices, but also show him love and forgiveness when he makes mistakes. It won’t take long at all for him to start figuring out what it is that you’re wanting!

Stay consistent!

Positive reinforcement isn’t just for training sessions. You need to be using it regularly, every single day, throughout the day, every time he does what you ask. Example, if you ask him to come, and he comes right to you on the first command, that deserves a big scratch behind the ear and a “good boy!” If you ask him to stay by the door instead of bolting, and he does, don’t forget to praise him! It’s these little things that will really help reinforce his good behavior and will keep everything fresh in his mind!

Tips to Help your Pets De-stress During Quarantine

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Most families have been impacted greatly by the coronavirus pandemic and all of the associated changes. It’s easy to forget that our pets have been impacted as well.

Pets are wonderful at adjusting to their human’s routines, however, experts warn that it is difficult for many pets to adjust to their pet parents being around so much more than before. It may be easy to assume that dogs will want their human around as much as possible while cats want their alone time. However, experts note that this need for personal space is much more specific to your pet’s individual personality. Here are some tips to help recognize the signs of stress and help your best friend navigate these uncharted waters.

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Watch for changes in level of activity. Many animals will display restlessness and pace back and forth. Other pets may stay in one place and seem very lethargic. Both of these extremes may indicate anxiousness and can easily be misinterpreted as a need for more attention rather than less.

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Keep your ears open. Listen for higher pitch and more frequent barking from your dog or vocalization from your cat. These can be your pet displaying signs of distress or hypervigilance due to anxiety.

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Keep an eye on body language and aggression. Some animals may feel stiffer to the touch or develop new obsessive behaviors, tics or spasms. For example they may over groom, bite themselves or lick their lips repeatedly. Some pets may show more aggression towards their owners in the form of nips or bites even when being handled or treated the same way as normal.

If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, don’t despair. This is a normal reaction to shifts in your pet’s family life. There are ways you can make this time a bit easier for your furry friend, however. Here are some tips to help your little one out.

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Give your pet their own space. If they have a corner of your home that they spend time in, just let them choose to come out and mingle as they please. Remember, your pet is used to having 8 or 10 hours a day of down time while the family is at work and school. They may be happy to have a place where no one will interact with them until they are ready.

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Stick to a routine. Your dog and cat thrive on routine. Things like when the family wakes up and scurries around, when the smell of food cooking fills the home, the hour before bed that the family sits together in front of the television or when they are walked and played with. Just like people, animals feel confident and comfortable when they know what to expect from day to day.

Finally, slowly reintroduce the change back to your regular routine. If you have been working from home and know that you’ll be going back soon, take a few steps to help your pet get ready too. Reinstitute the daily waking and feeding schedule that is their normal during the work week. Also, start leaving your pet at home for some errands and outings before you are gone for the entire day. This will help your pet to not be shocked when the door closes without them in tow.

Remember, pets and humans are great at adapting and overcoming changes and obstacles. Enjoy your family and your pets during this trying and unexpected time