It is so easy for us to project human emotions and thoughts onto our dog. Although there are some similarities between dogs and humans, the truth of the matter is that dogs see the world differently than we do. The key to creating a stronger relationship with your dog is to understand how they see the world, and meet them halfway with ours. We want to create a harmonious coexistence, to lighten the stress, and to just enjoy our time with our dogs. Everyone can benefit from creating a more positive relationship with their dog. Reading this blog is the first step to doing that!
1. Use a Positive Voice
Dogs don’t understand the majority of the words we’re saying, but they do understand our emotions through our tone of voice. Have patience with your dog, and make the tone of your voice positive when asking a command. Using a higher pitched voice than your normal speaking voice will immediately appear more positive. When asking a dog to come, they’re not going to want to come towards you if you’re yelling at them. Who wants to greet a grumpy human? Using a positive voice when giving your dog a command will greatly increase the likelihood of them listening to you, which will decrease frustration for you.
2. More Exercise
Unless your dog is experiencing a physical ailment, he will likely need a lot of exercise. Perhaps more than you think. A tired dog is a happy dog. I’m not just talking about physical exercise (though that’s a big part), but mental exercise as well. Try challenging your dog by travelling a different walking route each day, make him go over obstacles such as park benches and tree limbs, or constantly switch directions to keep him thinking. Provide mental exercise by inventing games, like hiding food around the house and have your dog find it. As an added bonus, your dog will be less likely to tear through the house if he’s tired from all of the mental and physical exercise.
3. Celebrate Successes
Humans have a horrible tendency to focus on the bad things, even when the good things outweigh the bad things in number of occurrences. It’s in our nature. When it comes to strengthening your relationship with your dog, you must, must, must focus on the positivity. If you respond to your dog’s successes with enthusiasm, your dog will be much more likely to repeat the good things in the future. Remember that your dog is lovely more often than it’s naughty. Focus on the good things, instead of the bad, and never punish your dog for making a mistake.
4. Use Body Language
Dogs communicate with each other in many different ways, one of the most important being through body language. Dogs respond quicker to our body language than they do our words. By using body language you are making it easier for your dog to understand what it is that you’re asking. Imagine for a minute how difficult it must be for a dog to understand a human. We are constantly blathering on to them. We talk to them all day long, and then we get angry when they don’t listen. We need to make it as clear as possible to our dogs when we’re asking something of them. Whether it’s using hand signals along with voice commands, or using your body to encourage your dog to go in the direction that you want instead of pulling on the leash. Use your body language as much as possible with your dog and you will find that you will strengthen your relationship with your dog because you will finally be able to understand each other.
5. Positive Reinforcement Training
Positive reinforcement dog training uses treats, praise and toys as a reward when a dog does something right. There are no physical corrections in positive reinforcement training. Using this form of training will ensure that your dog WANTS to work for you, because it is a pleasant job. In the human world positive reinforcement training would be the equivalent of working for a boss that rewards you with bonus’ and pizza parties, as opposed to one who yells at you when you make a mistake. Your dog will learn that doing things for you is fun, which will make him more eager to listen to you, knowing that the payoff will be wonderful. If you use physical corrections in training your dog will develop a fear of you, and will only work because of that fear. Positive reinforcement training has been proven to be the most efficient form of dog training, and it also helps to strengthen the relationship between you and your dog. If you love your dog, you’ll use positive reinforcement in your training.
Promoting positivity is crucial in creating a full and happy life with your dog. Our dogs give us so much joy, and the least that we can do is reciprocate the feeling. By using a positive voice, celebrating successes, giving your dog more exercise, using body language and training with positive reinforcement methods you will see uplifting repercussions that will strengthen your relationship with your dog instantly.