The Well-Behaved Pet: Teach the Pooch Good Manners

Show your pets love and patience, and soon they’ll be the best-behaved member of the family
BY Bill Lindsey TIMEApril 8, 2022 PRINT

Dogs are amazing creatures; they love us and consider our family to be their pack. They’re smart and crave order, which is why training them is a great way to forge a lifelong relationship, and can be fun for both of you.

Dogs Have Feelings

Anyone who doubts dogs have emotions has never been around one. These are sensitive creatures who want to please us. It becomes easy to determine their mood by paying attention to them; they will give cues in the forms of tail wags, happy yips or barks, and eye contact. If their humans are upset, the dogs will be, too, so be aware of their emotions and express confidence and love at every opportunity.

Kid-Proof Them

Kids love dogs of all shapes and sizes, very often squealing with delight as they run up to pet them. To dogs, these can be scary monsters to run from, so you’ll need to train the kids to approach quietly, preferably with a favorite treat, and be gentle—no tail or ear tugs! With time and patience, the kids and dogs will be best friends.

Be Social

Dogs are very social, with most enjoying being around people and other dogs, but some may be shy. Start off slow, making sure your dog knows you will protect it, keeping it safe as it learns the other dogs aren’t a threat. This process takes time, so be patient. Be aware if your dog becomes nervous around people or other dogs, reassuring it that you’re right there. Keep over-eager dogs (and people) from getting too close. Never let a nervous or scared dog run off-leash at a dog park or anywhere else.

Puppies and Rescues

Puppies and rescues of all ages need lots of patience and love. Puppies must learn how to live with humans, while new surroundings and new people can be scary for rescues. In both cases, give them a lot of attention and positive reinforcement in the form of praise and treats. If the dog hides under a table, give it a toy or a treat and talk to it reassuringly. Don’t drag it out—it will eventually venture out on its own.

Forget ‘Stay’: ‘Get Back Here!’

A runaway dog is a nightmare; it can happen if they’re distracted by another dog while off-leash, or if they escape from the house. If they do get loose and won’t come back, running after them and shouting may scare them, or they’ll think it’s a great game. Approach slowly, calling their name and “Come” while offering a favorite treat; with practice, they’ll zip right back to you every time. Practice in a secure, fenced area or with a very long leash.

Bill Lindsey
Bill Lindsey is an award-winning writer based in South Florida. He covers real estate, automobiles, timepieces, boats, and travel topics.
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