Learning about your dog's behaviour is a key element in building a strong relationship, which will allow you to understand how your dog is feeling, or why they behave in certain ways.
Your dog’s behaviour
Dog behaviour is something we often get asked for help and advice for here at Spinney Vets. This pet advice article will provide you with lots of information when it comes to your dog’s behaviour, to help you and your dog understand each other better, which is an important aspect of building a good relationship.
Building good relationships
Just as between people, good relationships between dogs and their owners are based on good communication. Dogs communicate between themselves by means of body signals. It’s only natural, then, that they’ll use the same method to communicate with people. Your responsibility as a pet owner is to learn to interpret such signals. Doing so will enable you to teach your puppy or dog the appropriate way of telling you what he or she needs or would like, whether it's food, to be let out, to play or to receive some loving attention from you!
Social skills aren’t just for humans!
One of the most important lessons your puppy or dog should learn is that they must sit before interacting with you or any other human. You can easily teach a puppy or even a mature dog to sit. Dogs learn at any age, as long as lessons are repeated often enough and teaching sessions are short and fun.
To begin, take a small food treat, like a small piece of cheese, and hold it between two fingers. Place this hand close to the front of your pet's nose.
Raise the hand above his/her nose and then backwards. Your pet's head will move to follow the treat. Eventually, your dog will sit because it will be more comfortable.
As soon as this is done say “sit” and give your pet the treat. As a dog always connects what they are doing with what you are doing at the same time, they’ll associate the action of sitting with the word “sit” and a reward.
Good behaviour should be rewarded
Parents often don’t remember to praise their children when they behave well, yet will never forget to tell them when they do not. We tend to do the same with our pets. We
ignore them when they are quiet and well behaved and pay them attention only when they behave inappropriately. It’s always best to do the reverse and praise and reward the desired behaviour and ignore the unwanted. Interrupt dangerous behaviour such as chewing electrical wires.
How to deal with unwanted behaviour? Ignore it
Dogs, just like humans, are social animals and need interaction with others, so withholding your attention is a very effective passive punishment. For example, if your dog jumps up on you, cross your arms, turn your head away and remain absolutely silent until they stop jumping. Don’t try to push them away, look at or talk to them. They’ll interpret any of the actions on your part as attention, or even play. When your pet does finally sit, reward them with your undivided attention and a treat of some kind.
If, in the past, you allowed your puppy or dog to gain your attention by barking or jumping up on you, you must realise that if you subsequently decide to ignore such behaviour, your pet will only try longer and harder to regain that attention. For success to fully change your dog's behaviour you must ignore, and outlast, all their efforts.
Or interrupt it!
Dogs do react to eye contact. Call your puppy or dog by his/her name. As soon as they look at you, you should give them a special treat. Repeating this simple exercise at any time will teach your pet that it is worthwhile to pay attention to you. In fact, calling your pet’s name is an effective way of interrupting, and thus eliminating unwanted behaviour. Making an unusual sound is another way of interrupting. Once your dog is paying attention, you can ask them to come or sit.