Lynnwood and the surrounding areas of Snohimish County here in Washington state have an abundance of dogs in need of adoption. As a result, many people in the area are stepping up to do their part to save the lives of stray and abandoned animals. However, most people need some exposure to how dogs think and learn once the vet has checked them out and they are ready to take their new pet home.
Many people, both locally and elsewhere, rely on superficial or quirky communication methods that are unreliable. Despite living in the same household, many pets and their owners really don’t understand each other very well. This is unfortunate because there are life enriching possibilities for many dogs and owners that are missed everyday. Of course, most pet owners love their pets, they are just not aware of the possibilities. Fortunately, the basics of dog communication are easy to learn and quite rewarding to use.
Despite the appearance of complex thought and human-like behavior see, A de-anthropomorphic examination of the modern human-dog relationship, dogs really just want to eat and play, although they can be ingeneous when it comes to getting food or play time with a favorite companion. If possible, our pets would prefer to play in ways that result in eating. The richness of the interaction comes from understanding what a dog has to say, relative to what you are doing with him. There is simply an undeniable satisfaction in interactive communication with a non-human animal. In other words, both dog and human develop a useful back-and-forth influence on each others behavior. This type of communication is both personal and satisfying.
A feeling of “deeply rooted wisdom” emerges as a human learns to communicate with a non-human animal. There is a great pleasure in working as a team with a dog to accomplish a specific goal. There is a sense of pride for both the human and animal when they work together. These things will not make a person rich, but they will enrich every aspect of life for both the human and dog.
The simple act of playing fetch with a dog begins simple enough, but repetition paired with something fun creates new insights and ways of thinking about an old game. Soon, dog and owner are looking to each other interactively, but since dogs are kind of small brained , more often, the interaction becomes one of the dog looking to his provider for direction. As they effectively communicate, the dog, even an old dog, learns new commands quickly.
Positive reinforcement explained in a way you can practice
To a dog sit means nothing until you connect it with a consequence. First your dog has to be looking at you. Get him to pay attention. Show a treat but don’t give it to him. Practice until your dogs looks at your eyes when you say his name. Give him a treat when he does. The reinforcer (treat) must be contingent on the desired behavior. Only when he looks at your eyes, quickly deliver a treat. Practice this throughout the day, whenever you think about it. Once you have done this successfully 20 times, it’s time to teach him to sit. Using the same method as before, make sitting by your dog contingent on a treat. Now, try sitting your dog and back away one step and say, “stay”. This takes some practice.
Once you have your pets attention and there is a reliable interaction, she will learn to “sit” and “stay” on command. You will have a great degree of control over your dog. In return, he will look to you for direction. Don’t pass over the infinite opportunities to train and bond with your dog. Changing your pets behavior requires patience, persistence, consistency , and a sense of humor. There is no substitute for the time it takes to build a relationship and train an animal. The reward, however, is worth the effort.