For most of us, our four legged companions are just that… A source of companionship. Indeed, just by existing they do a great deal for us. They cheer us up when we’re feeling down, they help us stay active and in shape, and they never ever forget to show us how much they love us. However, if we want to raise and train a dog to do a specific job, like rescuing us when we need them or simply to be well-behaved while walking them, we need to ensure a particular disposition. Dogs are, in many ways, just like children. While any child can learn virtually any skill in theory, parents need to create the right disposition for learning. Just as all children do not perform equally well at school, not all dogs are apt to learn the skills that could one say save your life.
Here we’ll look at some key factors in raising a happy and obedient dog that will rise to any challenge you set him or her with ease:
It starts with sourcing:
Where your pet comes from plays a huge role in its malleability and eagerness to learn. This is one of the reasons why it’s not advisable to buy puppies from a pet store. 90% of these come from puppy mills which, by necessity, churn out literally thousands of pups every year. Not only does this contribute significantly to an already colossal rehoming issue, dogs from this kind of background are more predisposed to psychological and emotional instability.
Your best bet is to determine which breed is best suited to your intended purpose and find a rescue group or breeder that puts the effort into raising healthy and happy pups. Take this breeder of chocolate lab puppies, for example. The website demonstrates not only outstanding knowledge but genuine care. They even have their own training school. Puppies who have been raised by loving and knowledgeable breeders from day one are likely to be well predisposed to human contact and quick to learn.
Never too young to learn:
Just like children, puppies are never too young to start learning the basic skills which will form a strong foundation for their further training. Obedience training with a qualified professional is a great investment if you want to give your dog the best possible start. Of course, if your budget is limited, there are ample resources out there that will teach you how to run obedience training yourself.
It’s essential to start teaching good habits to your pup as soon as possible. Many habits that are cute and endearing as pups like nibbling your fingers or jumping up to say hello can be barriers to learning for adult dogs.
Socialize, socialize, socialize:
As well as learning, socialization should take place at a young age, too (as soon as the vet deems your dog ready). This will help them to deal with the spontaneity and unknown variables of the outside world. It will help them to understand that new sights, sounds, and smells are normal and nothing to worry about. This will give your dog the confidence and easy nature that makes a great service dog.
Could we achieve great things on a diet of heavily processed cheese burgers, potato chips, and soda? Probably not. The building and consolidation of physical and cognitive skills starts with good nutrition. If you want to get the most out of your dog, it’s imperative that they get the right brain food in their diets that allows them to excel.
Choose a dog food that is high in omega 3 oils which are just as beneficial for cognitive function in dogs as they are in humans. You should also choose foods that are high in antioxidants to protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals. A well nourished dog is far more likely to be obedient, calm, and happy.
Consistency is key:
Finally, it’s absolutely essential to be consistent when training your dog. You love your dog, but you can show them how much you love them without indulging them. Allow them to get away with things or ignore you once or twice in their early years and it will be more difficult to train them effectively later on.
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