Leash and Leadership: Taking Control of Your Dog’s Actions
Having a dog is a wonderful experience, yet it can sometimes be challenging. Dogs, with their lively and sometimes strong-willed nature, require careful guidance. Managing their behavior goes beyond training them to perform tricks.
It involves effective communication, understanding their needs, and building a relationship based on trust and leadership. This article is your guide to mastering the art of controlling your dog’s actions.
Why Dogs Behave the Way They Do
Most overactive or aggressive behaviors are not inherent and develop through experiences and interactions with their environment. For instance, a dog that consistently receives positive or negative attention for barking or jumping learns to repeat these actions. They associate these behaviors with getting what they want, be it attention, food, or play.
A dog’s diet can also influence aggressive behavior if you feed it high carbs and low protein content. High-carbohydrate diets can cause mood swings, while additives may lead to hyperactivity.
Additionally, some dogs might display seemingly overactive behavior due to a lack of exercise or mental stimulation. They require an outlet for their energy.
Here are a few ways to control such actions.
Change Your Pet’s Food
What if all the hyperactivity and mood swings are coming from your pet’s high-carb diet? Compare different brands to see their first few ingredients. For instance, analysis of dog food by Woof Whiskers includes a thorough review of the first ingredient and its suitability for different life stages.
Further, natural diets are less taxing on the digestive system and benefit brain chemistry, aiding in training and reducing unpredictable behaviors. Therefore, read dog food reviews to know what other pet owners say about a product and its effect on the behavior. Change to a breed-specific, healthy diet and see what happens. You can search for the most suitable food for any breed, say, a Doberman’s diet, and get a list of options for various life stages.
Exercise Your Canine Regularly
Adequate exercise utilizes your dog’s excess energy, reducing hyperactivity and minimizing behavior issues. Hence, a well-exercised dog is often more attentive and responsive during training sessions, making the process more effective.
While some dogs may be content with a leisurely walk, others may need more vigorous activities like running or playing fetch. Therefore, tailor the exercise to your dog’s breed, age, and health.
Try Practical Communication Exercises
Practical training exercises like obedience drills are invaluable in establishing communication and control. Start with basic commands like sit, down, sit-stay, and down-stay. These exercises are more than just commands because they help you engage with your dog and build a language of mutual understanding.
Each command teaches your dog to respond to your cues and behave in a controlled manner. These drills also instill discipline and patience for managing your dog’s behavior in various situations.
Use Electronic Collars Responsibly
Electronic collars, often used for more challenging training scenarios, must be used responsibly and typically under the guidance of a professional trainer. These collars can deliver a variety of stimuli, such as a mild electric shock, vibration, or sound, to gain the dog’s attention.
Socialization is a continuous process and contributes to a well-adjusted and well-behaved dog. Hence, let your pet socialize from an early age. Expose it to different people, animals, environments, and situations. It helps your canine become more comfortable and less fearful or aggressive in various settings.
Redirect Unwanted Behavior
When your dog exhibits unwanted behavior, redirect it to an appropriate activity. For instance, if it is chewing on furniture, provide a chew toy instead to teach it acceptable alternatives to its natural impulses.
Introduce a Head Collar for Strong Pullers
For dogs that pull excessively, a head collar can be a game-changer. It gives you control over your dog’s head, making it easier to steer them and prevent pulling. It’s important to introduce the head collar gradually, allowing your dog to get used to the feel of it before using it on walks.
Dogs behave in undesirable ways for many reasons. Nevertheless, you are in control, and there are ways to change your pet’s behavior lovingly. Three simple strategies are socialization, training, and giving your pet enough play and exercise. There are also tools like leashes and collars for situations that require more control.
Remember, teaching your dog is about patience, consistency, and trying to see things from their point of view. Through such a process, you build a stronger bond with your dog.