You can talk about your dog’s behavior how much you want. But dog manners are the most important part of your dog’s life. With proper manners, your puppy can enjoy a long and happy life. Without them, your pup is subject to punishment, screaming, and negative behavior coming from your side.
Dogs are a lot like children and teenagers. They have low impulse control. This is why your little kid might throw a tantrum when he doesn’t get what he wants. It is the same reason teenagers cannot stop texting. Dogs are very much at the mercy of their impulses as well. Dog manners is a way to modify your dog impulse.
It is much harder for an adult dog or adolescent dog to learn dog manners quickly. Puppies learn it quite easily. But if your dog lacked basic manners as a puppy, it will be harder and more challenging to establish rules now that he is older dog.
Add in doggy puberty, a period when hormonal changes take place in the brain of your pet, and you have a sweet dog suddenly turning into a puppy-shaped monster.
Why do dog manners help?
Teaching your dog proper manners is a radical change in your life and in your puppy’s life. It might signal a change for both of you, and for dog leash. If your dog has proper manners, you can have a reliable pet you can let off the leash. Manners are essential part of obedience training.
Manners help you raise a polite dog that will greet strangers in a calm way. He will wait patiently for his food. And it is not rocket science. You just need to adopt these manners and dog principles from Day 1.
It is very simple, praise and reward good manners, and challenge bad ones. But you should never hit your dog. Practice verbal punishments or ignoring bad behavior.
The big challenge for you, the dog owner
Here is the dirty little secret most dog owners do not know. Dogs stop acting obnoxious once they get what they want. And the problem is we often give into our dogs’ pushy requests. What happens is we accidentally reward bad behavior.
For example, we open the door when our pet scratches at the door. Here is another example of how we reward negative behavior. You come back home, and your dog acts joyful and jumps at you. What you do is praise your dog while jumping and hug him. Well, you teach him that is the type of behavior he needs to show when you come back home.
What you need to do INSTEAD is come home as calm as possible, wait for your dog to sit and calm down, and then praise him and give him a treat. This is the way you encourage calm behavior. The same way you greet your dog when you come home is the way he will greet strangers.
Here is another mistake. Your dog barks, and instead of calming him down, you hit him or yell at him. You reinforce his behavior and make him even more aggressive. What you should do INSTEAD is ignore the bad behavior, or learn the command Shushhh. Once he calms down, have him sit, wait for a few seconds, and give him praise and treats.
Let’s talk about leash manners as well. You should try and focus on the positive. It is quite possible you make this dog mistake as well. Resist the urge to pull the leash when strangers or other dogs approach during your walks. What you are doing is giving your dog subtle movement that puts him on alert.
INSTEAD, get him to sit and focus on you. Establish eye contact, and have him sitting and looking at you while strangers pass by.
Our last mistake is playtime. What happens is your dog comes with a toy. You instantly stop what you are doing and start playing with your dog. Well, this is how you get a needy dog. You made him that way. Again, the trick is to wait for your dog to calm down.
You have to be the one initiating playtime, and not your dog. Your pet looks at you for direction as a leader. Always praise your dog when he is polite and calm. For example, if you work from home, and your dog sits quietly, praise him and give him treats.
Top 3 Dog Training Exercise for Well Mannered Puppy
Here are three commands you should teach your puppy. Practice all of them regularly and you will have well mannered dog.
This is the first and most important dog training exercise for a calm puppy. Here is how to practice it:
- Hold a toy or food bowl in one hand and slowly lower it towards your dog
- If he stands up or jumps up, pull away the toy/food
- Repeat until your dog waits patiently for you to put the food or toy on the floor
- Now tell him to take it
This is a dog command you should practice for when your dog greets strangers. You have to proofread it before you can go outside and allow your dog to meet everyone and anyone. Here is how to practice with your friends.
- Walk with your dog, and as you approach your friend, use a happy voice to get your dog to focus on you
- If your dog starts pulling, jumping, or becomes too excited, stop and take two steps backward
- Ask your dog for attention again, and put him in sit
- Begin to move forward and repeat until you can reach your friend with your dog sitting to greet him
- Your dog’s reward is he can say hello and gets praise and pets from your friend
This dog manner will help when you open doors, when you cross a street and any other place where danger lurks. You need a reliable wait command (your dog trainer might suggest even sit) to prevent your dog from crossing the street on his own mind.
- To practice, stand in front of the door, ask your dog to sit/wait, and slowly begin to open the door
- If your dog begins to move, immediately close the door
- Wait for 10 to 20 seconds, and then try it again
- The goal is for your dog to wait to completely open the door, then you move forward, and then your dog
Using Dinner time for Practicing Good Manners
Dinner time is one of the best opportunities to practice dog manners. You can see what your dog has learned. You should not put up with your dog jumping on you before he gets his food. Or jumping for the food bowl.
You want your puppy to learn that good manners will get him dinner. And get him dinner faster. Put your dog in his designated eating area. He has to sit and wait for your permission to begin eating.
If you use a food bowl, practice your dog sitting while you are slowly lowering the bowl. The moment he breaks sit, pull away the food bowl. If you hand feed, put the food in your hand, move it to your dog, and if he jumps or breaks sit, close your hand and pull away. Repeat after he calms down.