Thursday, June 23, 2016

4 tips on how to ‘speak dog’ for better human-canine communication

With the summer now officially here, you may be thinking about ways your family can enjoy some fun in the sun while including your pup.

Before you head outdoors, think of some ways to include your furry family member and build a stronger connection with their four-legged BFFs.

These fail-safe tips are from OneMind Dogs [], a dog teaching method out of Finland:

--TIP #1: DOGS DON’T MAKE ‘MISTAKES’: A dog’s behavior is a direct response to the signals they get from us humans. Instead of blaming your dog, consider why the confusion or accident occurred. Remember, the behavior that is reinforced (consciously or not) is the behavior your dog will continuously display.

--TIP #2: BODY LANGUAGE COUNTS: While voice commands are useful in training, body language is what your dog naturally understands and responds to first. For example, if you teach your dog to sit and lie down using words and accompanying hand gestures, and then you tell your dog to “sit” but use the gesture for “lie down,” your dog will lie down – following the gesture, not the word.

--TIP #3: SMALL TREAT PORTIONS WIN: When training with large treats as rewards, your dog will become full and lose motivation quickly -- so treat often using smaller bits of treats. To keep your dog interested, spend time finding what treat works best as incentive.

--Tip #4: EMOTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS: Dogs automatically associate the emotion surrounding an experience with the event itself– so if you’re having a bad day, it’s probably not the best day for a training session. However, you’ll find that keeping an upbeat attitude will lengthen your dog’s attention and eagerness to learn. Also, the tone of your voice is always more important than your words.

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