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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Do You Talk To Your Dog?

I talk to my dogs all the time, and I'm sure they understand most of what I say because I've talked to them since they were born.

Dogs are very intelligent and they love to learn new things.  Have you ever noticed that they listen intently to everything you say?  Well, it's because they know what you're saying and want to do anything they can to please you.  They're listening for you to ask them to do something or to say you're all going to the beach! 

No matter how often we run through the skills my dogs have, sit, stay, etc. they always look forward to it and seem to thoroughly enjoy learning new things.  When I see them do something extremely cute I encourage that behavior by telling them what a good puppy they are and giving them a treat.  I never scold for behaviors I don't like, in my opinion the only way to train is by positive reinforcement.  Never, never punish!  Ignore behaviors you don't like and reward the ones you do, trust me, it works!    

I've noticed that most people don't think that little dogs need to learn skills such as sit, stand, and down, but I think that all dogs should be taught basic commands if only for the reason to teach them to understand what we're saying to them.  It's hard to learn a language if no one ever teaches it to you or ever speaks it to you isn't it?  

If you want the best relationship you can have with your dog you need to teach her to speak, or at least understand, your language.  Dogs love to learn and it doesn't matter how old they are they can and will learn all their lives.  

The more time you spend teaching your dog, by speaking to her and showing her what you expect from her the better relationship you'll have and the happier you both will be for a very long time.

How do I get started teaching my dog?  First thing you should do is talk to your dog about everything so they can start to understand the language.  I name their favorite toys and say the name while we play with it, for example if I'm playing with piggy then I say "lets get piggy" and I mention piggy's name while we play.  Next time she wants to play I ask her which toy she wants to play with and I start naming her favorite toys.  Do you want to play piggy, squeaky, etc. until she finds the one she wants to play with and I shout "Yay, you found piggy!"  And of course tell her she's a good girl.  Eventually, you can tell your pup to find any of their toys or people in the household.  Dogs love to play the "find" game.  In our house we play hide and seek with the dogs and it's great fun!  

  When I teach commands I always start with the basic sit.  I think it's important for all dogs to learn sit, stand, down, off, leave it, wait, come and stay.  We practice once a day and the pups love it so much they look forward to "school time".  Show your dog how much you love them by taking the time to teach them the basics.  You'll both be so much happier.          

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