How To Be Patient With your Dog
Time for some quick tips on how to be patient with your dog:
- Set realistic expectations: Dogs are like toddlers for life, so it’s important to set realistic expectations. Expect your dog to improve in baby steps each day and assume it’ll be 2 steps forward and 1 step back. Your dog’s progress will not be a straight line to success. It will be up and down because you’re both learning and making mistakes together.
- Take breaks: If you find yourself losing your patience with your dog, take a break. Step away from the situation, take a deep breath, and give yourself time to calm down before returning to your dog. If your dog is a real handful, I recommend using the crate to give your dog a nap. You need to fully disconnect from your dog for a few minutes to a few hours, so you can come back fresh and ready to train them again.
- Use positive reinforcement: Positive reinforcement, such as treats, praise, and affection, can help reinforce good behavior and encourage your dog to repeat it. Focus on rewarding the things your dog gets right. Corrections and punishments are sometimes necessary to help your dog fully understand the lesson but shouldn’t be used until you’ve done many repetitions. I recommend seeking the advice of a professional trainer for advice before proceeding.
- Be consistent: Consistency in training can help prevent frustration and confusion. Be consistent with your commands and rules to help your dog paint a clear picture in their mind of what is expected. Dogs have a REALLY REALLY hard time with variation. They seem to learn specific scenarios well, but any change from what they expect to see tends to confuse them.
- Seek help: If you’re struggling to manage your patience with your dog, consider seeking help from a professional dog trainer. A good dog trainer has been through exactly what you are going through many times. I promise they will show you a faster way to teach your dog. It’ll be something so simple that you will say, “why didn’t I think of that?”
- Remember your why: Remember why you got your dog. Maybe it was for companionship or to keep you active or to help a family member who needed these things. Remember these reasons why and it will help you maintain patience when your dog is being a stinker.
I hope these tips help you strengthen your bond with your dog and bring you one step closer to the dog of your dreams!