From demanding belly rubs to hogging the bed, our pups know just the right way to become the boss of our hearts
As a pawrent, you might think that you're the top dog in your puppy-parent relationship. But, do some digging and you will soon realize that your dog probably has a different opinion. From begging for belly rubs to insisting on his own treat schedule, little by little our pups have got us wrapped around their paws. As much as we love our fur babies, sometimes we crave some boundaries and limits so that they don’t get too big for their paws. Go from being a stressed-out dog mom to the leader of the pack with our handy training tips.
Who runs the world? Dogs!
We may have a gazillion photos of our pup saved on our phones. And, we may indulge them in one too many treats from time to time. Yet, for our dogs to lead balanced and happy lives it is important that they feel safe and secure and this applies to their position in the household hierarchy. While we are not asking you to become a doggy dictator, it is important that your pup knows who is in charge. And, as much as they want it to be themselves, as pawrents this responsibility falls on our shoulders. Here are some fun and simple ways to help establish healthy boundaries for you and your dog.
1. Set a paw-some routine
Whether you are a first-time dog mom or a seasoned specialist, you would have heard that dogs thrive on routine. Get creative and color code your calendar so that you can set aside a schedule for feeding, playtime, and walks. Don’t stray from your planning and stick to the same times every day when possible. Quickly your pup will learn to rely on you as their dependable pack leader and look up to you as their personal puppy planner.
2. Reward good behavior with treats and lots of paw-sitive reinforcement
All dogs crave attention, yet it is important to be mindful to only give praise to positive behavior. Rewarding good behavior with treats or belly rubs will not only encourage your pup to listen to your commands but also strengthen your bond. Plus, who doesn't love a good treat? Just like anything, practice makes perfect so don’t get frustrated if your dog doesn’t pick up on your training tactics at first.
3. Set some ‘me’ time and encourage independence
The truth is we love our pups and if we could spend 24/7 with them, we would. But, just like in any relationship, setting boundaries and sticking to them is important. And, this applies to time and personal space too. Your pup may think that the king-size bed you bought with the memory foam mattress is for them but if you are not up for sharing the bed with a million and one dog hairs, it is important to create ‘dog-free’ spaces in your home. Teach your dog the ‘off’ command and use it each time your dog tries to climb into bed with you. Be consistent and offer a tasty treat if they do as they are asked. Consistency is key and soon you will be able to canine co-live in harmony.
4. Practice obedience training like a boss
We know that you want your dog to be well-behaved. We all want this for our dogs. And, eventually, you will be managing your dog like a boss. But, in our busy lives, it can be hard to find the time to train our dogs in the correct way. This is where professional puppy training comes in. Enroll in a local obedience class or work with a professional trainer to teach your pup commands like "sit," "stay," and "come." Practicing these regularly will reinforce your authority and build the bond between you and your pup. And, as a bonus, you will have a dog that is educated and eager to behave wherever you go.
5. Quit having your dog run circles around you
We have all been there. The moment our fur baby gets a whiff of something more interesting than us, they are off, tugging at the lead as if their life depended on it. Reign in your unruly pup and take charge. Walkies should be enjoyable for both you and your dog and a dog that tugs on the leash is only going to raise your stress levels to the max. Make yourself more interesting than any distraction that they will find and carry their favorite treats with you. As you are walking, guide them to walk by your side by placing a treat in your hand. Once you notice that the dog is paying more attention to you and is relaxed on the leash, praise him using your voice and the treat. Repeat this throughout the walk each time you go out and over time it will become second nature.
Don’t let your dog-mom guilt creep in. It will try, especially when you look into those puppy dog eyes of theirs. But, just remember - each dog is different and will require their own unique way of learning. Have patience and set aside quality time each day to spend with your dog. Dedicate this time to really building your bond. The more attention they get from you, the less likely they will be to act out. Just remember to guide them and let them know what behavior you are willing to accept and don’t be afraid to send them to the dog house - they will still shower you with sloppy kisses.