It’s said that dogs are the ultimate man’s best friend. We all know that this is the absolute truth, and no one can argue with that. Most of us are dog owners. Coming home after a long hectic day and seeing your dog jump and wag its tail at you is one of the most therapeutic gestures in life. It makes even the worst of days seem bearable.
I should know. I have two dogs; an eleven-month-old lab mix of a German shepherd and Pitbull, and a three-year-old Jack Russel. Having been around different dogs all my life, I cannot imagine going one day without seeing them around. I know for a fact that to enjoy having dogs around, you have to be able to communicate with them effectively. If you are getting a dog for the first time, you will need to learn a few basics that will make your life a little bit easier. Not understanding your dog can become a frustrating affair, one I would not wish on anyone. This is why it’s essential that you know how to train your dog so that you can always be in sync.
How to train your dog to sit
The first step towards a successful dog training is knowing how to make the dog obey your commands.it starts with ‘sit!’ I do this all the time. Sometimes you just want to go about your daily chores without having to deal with the dog being everywhere in the house.
Before I could adequately make either of my two dogs listen to me, I was a frustrated dog owner. I will share a couple of tips and tricks that I used, which eventually had me issuing out commands and not wondering if they will be followed or not because they always followed them. What I realized, however, is that for dogs, using a reward system is the most efficient way to any training. Food is one sure way to a dog’s heart. As you begin, with a treat in hand, command the dog to ‘sit’ and lift out a snack a few levels higher above its nose. The dog will assume the sitting position so that he can nibble at the snack. In case he doesn’t sit, gently place one of your hands on its rump and guide him to a sitting position. He will get used to it after a few times, and you won’t have to say it twice. Alternatively, in a squatting position, you can place one of your hands gently on its chest, and another behind his legs. Lower the dog into a sitting position while saying ‘sit.’ Dogs are smart, and more often than not, they will get it. Do not forget always to reward your dog whether it’s able to sit or not for the first few times. With time, he will know that if he sits, he will get a bite to eat and therefore, will always do as you say.
How to stop your dog from barking
Have you ever been in a situation where dogs are barking all the time? It could be your dog or your neighbors’. It’s quite frustrating, right? Especially when you are just trying to have a chill time or at night, when you seek to get a good night’s sleep after a long day.
When I first got Heather, one of my dogs, it wouldn’t stop barking. At first, I thought the barking was due to the new surroundings, but when the barking couldn’t stop, I even thought she was sick. A quick trip to the local vet proved otherwise.
- Be calm
It turns out; I had been using the wrong methods to stop the barking. The most vital part of trying to stop your dog from barking is remaining calm. Being irate only worsens the situation for both parties, because the dog will keep barking, and you will get angrier.
More often than not, constant barking is a sign of high energy levels in your dog that are just building up but not getting released. You can try engaging him in dog challenges or games to help him release that energy. You can also opt for taking the dog out for daily walks. This works like a charm.
- The ‘quiet’ command
You can also try this one out, and see if it works. It’s more efficient teaching your dog the ‘speak’ command first, then easing into the quiet one. When you say ‘quiet’ and signal that he should stop barking, give him a treat to reward his good behavior. He will now always relate the signal to a reward and go silent when you need him to.
- Call a professional
When you try all ways, and nothing seems to work, you can contact a canine professional to come in and save the situation. Sometimes it’s just a behavioral issue that an expert can deal with effectively.
Top 5 treats for dog training
As I mentioned earlier, food is one way to a dog’s heart. Just not any food, but dog treats every once in a while. Treats will become quite handy especially when you are trying to train your dog. When you reward the dog with a treat every time he does something, he will want to do it more often so that he can get the same treatment. This eventually turns out into a habit, and voila! Out dog, training journey starts in style.
The bottom line is, despite the fact that you badly need to train your dog well, pumping him with calories will only make him obese. You should always go for those snacks that contain very few calories. This is not to mean that they should be bland. Not at all! Opt for the delicious snacks that your dog will love. I stay away from treats with ingredients I do not know of, and those that I think might not be kind to my dogs’ stomachs. The goal is to get them excited, not to get them sick. The trick is, to always give out the treats in tiny portions, to ensure the dogs see it as a reward and not just an everyday affair. You also have to strike a balance between the treats. Have high end treats for special occasions and low-value ones for everyday treats.
Yes! You heard me right. Good old hotdogs. I mostly opt for this when I have run out of treats, and I cannot get to the store fast enough.
What’s more, almost all of us have hot dogs in our homes, and it’s a cheaper option. Just make sure to slice them into tiny bits before handing them out to your dogs.
- Rocco & Roxie Gourmet Jerky Dog Treats
If you have dogs, you must have come across this brand. It is one of the most popular dog treats on the market. It’s low in calories, high in protein content and doesn’t contain gluten, wheat or soy. It doesn’t come cheap. However, it’s bound to leave your dog’s yearning for more because of its beef taste and smell. You can also easily slice it up into bits before feeding the dogs. Because of its premium prices, I mostly use this brand once in a while, when I want to motivate my dogs.
- Zuke’s Mini Naturals Healthy Moist Training Treats
They are a popular choice for many of us because not only are they all natural, but they are affordable, have different flavors, and extra antioxidants to ensure your dog’s remain healthy.
They do not contain any wheat, soy or gluten, and they are made with real chicken. Peanut and salmon are the other flavors your dogs might love.
- Pet Botanics Training Rewards Treats for Dogs
Think about a pork, liver and bacon combination for a treat. This is what you get with Pet Botanics. With no artificial additives and additional amounts of flaxseed and salmon oil, this is the ultimate reward. Your dogs will surely thank you for it.
- crumps naturals
This is an all-natural treat, without any added sugars or preservatives. I love the brand because it has two alternatives, the liver, and sweet potato crumbs. It’s up to you to try them out on your dogs and see which one they love the most.
How to teach your dog to fetch
One of the primary reasons I loved growing up around dogs is that they always came in handy when I needed a playing buddy. We always had a superb time.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t come easy. You have to teach your dog the basics such as ‘fetch’ for when you throw a ball or an object at him. The dog needs to know that when you say ‘fetch,’ he needs to run after the object and give it back to you. But how can you train your dog to do this? The best part is, you just don’t get to bond with your dog, but you also help the dogs exercise as well.
- Using the right toy
The most basic lesson is that you have to get your dog excited. What better way to do this than by picking an object they will want to play around with? Be careful not to use one that the dog might chew or swallow because this will cause additional problems and cut into your playtime.
- Chasing and fetching
This is the hard part. You will have to get the dog to want to run around and chase after the object. I have come across some dogs that just want to stay put and not move. If you have such kind of dogs, you will have to put in extra effort to have them running around.
Also, some dogs may not want to catch the toys with their mouths. When this happens, try soaking the object in chicken or beef stock. This is bound to attract the dog. After you have the dog running around, now it’s time to have it fetching the objects you throw. This might prove quite tasking in the beginning. Try using two toys for this. Such that after throwing the first one and the dog runs after it, you can throw the second one in the opposite direction. Ultimately, the dog will get used to running back and forth to you. He might not bring back the object the first time, but with practice, he will get used to it. However, do not forget to motivate your dogs by rewarding them with a treat for the effort every time they chase after an object or fetch one.
- Hold on
This trick is for those dogs that instead of getting the toy and bringing it back, they will opt to run away with it. You can avoid this by tying a rope or having a long leash on your dog’s neck. This way, when it fetches and tries to run, you can gently pull it back to your direction.
Top 10 best dog training toys
We have already established that picking the right toy is the first step in training your dog to run and fetch, among other things. When picking out toys for my two dogs, I always ensure that they are just the right size. They should not be too small to be swallowed and not too big that they can’t fit in the dogs’ mouths. The toys should be light enough, and not edible. It does help if you soak them in beef or chicken stock to have your dogs attracted.
- The Nero Ball TM – Rubber Dog Ball Launcher
Mostly used for military training, this toy is perfect when training your dog to fetch. This is because it’s made of natural nylon and rubber, which makes it suitable to throw over long distances without wearing off.
- Outward Hound Kyjen 41001 Tail Teaser Dog Toys Squeak Toy
It might not move, but it’s the right toy when you want to train your dog without worrying about him running off. The strong nylon cord ensures it stays put.
- Dog Ball Launcher / Thrower by Dfied
When training your dog to fetch, you can easily get tired. This toy ensures that your arms don’t get as tired because it helps you throw the ball. What’s more, you can even use it to pick the ball without worrying about the dog sinking its teeth on your hands.
- KONG Air Dog Squeak air
The reason I opted for this is that it’s affordable, and comes in threes. The tennis balls are made of a non-abrasive material that is not harmful when put in the dogs’ mouths. Your dogs will love running around playing with these balls.
- Kong Pudge Braidz Indestructible Dog Toys
This toy will not only help train your dog to play, but it will also help your dog clean up its teeth. You get to choose from whichever animal your dog likes best; dog, rooster, pig or bear.
- GoughNut Stick Indestructible Dog Toys
This comes in handy when playing a game of fetch with your dog. The toy is not easily destructible, even when your dog tries to chew through it. Did I mention that it can also float?
- Kong Extreme Indestructible Dog Toys
These toys come in different sizes for different dogs. The material used to make them is durable and therefore, they are not easily destroyed. The best part is, you can train and reward your dog at the same time because there is an opening where you can stuff treats in the toys.
- Kong Rubber Flyer Frisbee Dog Toy
Whenever you want to train your dog to catch objects, you can use this toy.it is not only flexible, but it is also durable. It’s made of all-natural rubber, therefore, doesn’t hurt your dog when it holds the toy in its mouth.
- KONG Medium Cozie Dog Squeaky Toy
Wondering how to get your dog moving up and about? Worry no more! This toy will attract the dog so much that he will want to run around playing with it.
- Benebone Bacon Flavored Wishbone Chew Toy
With a real bacon flavor to it, this toy will have your dog catching and biting within no time. It’s good for the dog’s teeth, and also trains the dog on how to pick objects.
How to reward your dog
Knowing when and how to reward your dog is key to establishing that great bond you’ve always wanted.it is very essential that your dogs know when you are pleased with them. This will help them stick to those habits that will earn them a reward.
- Tasty treats
There is no better way to reward your dogs than by food. This is essentially not regular food that they eat every day but treats that you will give in small bits. Whether it’s during training or just to show how happy you are, you should try saying that with a snack.
Most dogs love running around. By buying them toys, you will not only tap into their playtime and make it a bonding session, but the dogs will also get to exercise. Always choose the right toys that are light, not edible and that your dogs will love.
- The power of touch
Do not forget to massage your dogs whenever you feel pleased with them. It doesn’t take up much time to touch the ears or the belly when you walk through the door, and your dogs come to welcome you home. However, you should always vary the rewards so that your dogs don’t get used to it and slack off. The reward system should be for motivating them to stick to the healthy habits and ditch the bad ones. You should not reward bad behavior.
Why dogs are called the men’s best friend
The relationship between dog and man goes all the way back. Both are considered as being social beings and as such, getting along was almost inevitable.
Think about all the reasons why you wanted to own a dog in the first place. You might have needed one to keep you company at home, or even one to guard your property against unwanted access. Dogs serve many different purposes in our lives, and as such, they are our best friends. There seems to exist an almost symbiotic relationship between human beings and dogs. They need us as much as we need them. On their won, they may not be able to get food or even shelter. This is where man comes in handy. We provide them with a place to live and food, and in return, they give us companionship and keep us safe. Most of us have a much deeper relationship with our dogs. I talk to mine all the time, even sharing my deepest concerns and thoughts. Dogs can’t talk back which sometimes; it’s all we need. Someone to listen to us without necessarily giving their opinion. It helps to take the load off. Friends should be able to benefit from each other, and this is what makes the dog-man relationship the ultimate friendship. Both get to derive something from the friendship; attention and affection. The best feeling is when you are sick, sad or even home after having a bad day. Your dog will rush to the door when you come in, wagging his tail, and grinning, with no worry in the world. At that exact moment, you tell yourself that the situation is not as bad and just like that, you feel whole again. What else can you ever want from a best friend if not that?
5 things to never feed your dog
There are foods you consider safe to eat, that should never be fed to dogs. Most of us may think that whatever is good for human consumption is right for our dogs. I’m afraid not. Some of these foods are hazardous to our dogs, and continuous feeding will only get our dogs sick.
- Cooked bones
If you are in the habit of cooking bones for your dogs, you should stop. You should only feed them with uncooked bones because they do not splinter like the cooked ones, which makes them good for your dog’s teeth and health.
Salt is not good for humans which make it worse for dogs. High salt content in dog food will cause diarrhea and dehydration in dogs.
This sounds like a no-brainer, right? No one gives alcohol to their dogs, but your dogs might accidentally sip on the spilled drink.
When this happens, the dog loses its coordination and its acidity levels increases. The worst part? It can lead to death or even a coma. You are advised to be very careful when you have alcohol especially in parties, and there are dogs around.
You can bear me witness that most of today’s products contain sugar. Knowing how to read ingredients on dog food can go a long way in helping you avoid the products which contain sugar or corn syrup, as this can result in your dog being diabetic or obese.
You should never feed your dogs with yeast, whether in its pure form or as dough.it has fatal effects on dogs as it leads to rupturing of the dogs’ stomach and intestines, which ultimately causes death.