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  • Writer's pictureDogs Taranaki

Teaching your dog to make good choices

Do I correct a dog? Yes.

But isn’t that mean? No

There are tons of ways to say no to a dog without being mean. Saying no stops unwanted behaviour, helps their state of mind, teaches them to think about good and bad choices, and builds confidence.

Would you let a child:

🚫 Put their hand on a hot element

🚫 Run into the road

🚫 Swear at you or a teacher

🚫 Not get out of their comfort zone to try new things

🚫 Run around a museum knocking over exhibits and old ladies

🚫 Have a tantrum in the supermarket because they want a chocolate bar

🚫 Get sweets or $1 every time they did something you asked them to

🚫 Punch you in the stomach for attention

🚫 Interrupt while you have visitors

🚫 Run off as soon as the car door opens

🚫 Keep running around the house all day

🚫 Not listen

If we wrap our dogs in cotton wool and let our emotions rule, they don’t learn to be the dog they can be.

If we give them a treat every time we want them to do or stop something and don’t phase out the treat after learning, unless it is just that (a treat), they will be more likely to be obedient for the food, and not you. Every bad behaviour is rewarded (‘I can act up, then get a treat or pat if I stop’) and you need to carry treats everywhere.

If we don’t help the hamsters to stop running around their head, they won’t learn to cope in our world. A happy dog can stop and chill and relax, even at play or around distractions, and isn’t constantly wired, running, barking, whining and anxious (even if they look happy).

Boundaries, just like for kids, are important. Some kids won’t ever put a foot wrong and won’t need them, but you still teach them. Others will push every boundary you put in front of them. Imagine those kids and ask yourself ‘would you let your dog be like that’?

Your dog needs to learn both right and wrong to make good choices, and cope better in our world. Teach them only the good stuff and they won’t have the right mechanisms to think it all through. Teach them only with treats, and you’ll have a dog who is entitled, with an unhealthy state of mind. Teach them with the right leadership and you eventually won’t need either treats or correction.

It’s up to you to show your dog the way when you let them loose in our world 👌🏻

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