Dogs are a man’s best friend – at least, that’s what the numbers would suggest. About 53% of American households have a dog, meaning that millions of families hold dogs near and dear to their heart.
For many, dogs are beloved animals – they are not just pets, but an integral part of the family. Dogs tend to return the favor; in fact, many dog parents report significant physical and mental benefits after adopting a new furry friend.
Every dog is different, just like every person is different. All dogs come with their own challenges, but some dogs are naturally more energetic than others, which can result in chaos and mayhem.
As a dog parent, you have a right to be concerned not just about your dog’s behavior for the sake of others, but also for the sake of your dog. An overly-energetic dog may be perceived negatively by others or may make other dogs feel intimidated or even threatened.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can train your dog to be more relaxed and behave more appropriately in public spaces. It just takes some time and effort!
Handling a rowdy pet in public can be genuinely stressful, but for some people, dogs are a necessity. Resources like Mind Diagnostics (click here) offer helpful information on mental illness and how to access professional care, if needed, and can also offer unique insight regarding the way you react to distressing situations.
Top 5 Dog Training Tips and Tricks
Tip 1: Use voice commands
The first step in this journey is to teach your dog simple verbal commands in a quiet place free of distractions.
Ensure the dog’s full attention is on you as you start with simple commands like “sit,” and then move on to more advanced commands like “fetch.” Using a strong, firm voice will ensure that the dog listens to you.
Be patient with your dog. This process, even from the very beginning, may take a while, but consistency is key when it comes to teaching dogs new behaviors.
Tip 2: Use a clicker or a similar device
If you have an over-excited dog, using a clicker can be highly effective and calm him/her down.
Start with the verbal commands already established (like sit/fetch). As soon as your dog obeys, press the clicker and give him/her a treat.
The clicker and the treat, in this scenario, are being used to reinforce the dog’s actions (and are based on classical conditioning principles).
Repeat this method at least ten times or until the dog can connect that good behaviors are followed by the clicker and then the treat.
Once the dog understands this, the rewards can be given out intermittently and randomly. At a later stage, the food can be replaced with a belly rub, praise or petting.
This particular method can become advantageous in distracting situations like public places/events or large gatherings; having a surefire way to refocus your dog’s attention on you can be very useful.
Tip 3: Encourage breaks
Dogs love playing and exercise, be it running around the house, playing tug with your favourite sock, or just playing fetch. However, it is essential to occasionally halt the fun and take frequent breaks.
This will reduce the dog’s excitement and encourage him/her to transition from a stage of high arousal to being more relaxed.
The important tip here is that after the break, let your dog play a bit more and have fun so that later he/she will be more likely to accept the gap without any complaints.
Tip 4: Ignore your dog
While challenging, sometimes ignoring your dog is an effective way to make him/her realize which actions are ones worth doing.
Every time your dog participates in unwanted behavior, like running around with your favourite shoe or trying to jump on your bed while working, pause.
Instead of yelling at or pleading with your dog, ignore his/her behaviour. Even negative attention from you can act as a reward, encouraging your dog to further push the limits to achieve it.
In these sorts of cases, pet experts often recommend waiting for as long as it takes for the dog to get bored of his/her own bad behavior or tire out.
As soon as your dog stops the bad behaviour, reinforce him/her with praise or petting. The dog can then realize that he/she needs to stop the unwanted behaviour to receive the reward.
Tip 5: Be mindful of the environment you and your dog are in
This method is great for helping your dog understand that different situations can sometimes mean different behaviors, and it’s also useful when your dog is still in the process of learning in general.
If your dog gets excited by looking at the birds on the tree, draw the blinds and distract the dog with a toy. Or. you could put him in his/her crate/dog house with the food if he/she gets excited by a large group of people visiting home.
By being mindful of and manipulating the environment your dog is in, you can likely help your dog learn better manners and feel more comfortable at the same time.
Final Thoughts & Key Points to Remember
Dogs can learn calm behavior no matter how crazy they may seem sometimes. These tips can enable you to better handle your dog when they get excited.
Pets should be a positive force in our lives, not one that causes high levels of stress. Never hesitate to reach out for help if you feel like you’re struggling; while you may know your dog best, you don’t have to go through this process alone.