It is important for responsible pet owners to train their animal in basic behaviors, as a trained pet is six times less likely to be surrendered or returned to a shelter. Well-behaved pets are more enjoyable for their owners and provide many additional benefits, including:
- Strengthening your relationship with your pet.
- Allowing more time for you to spend with your pet.
- Decreasing and/or eliminating negative behavior issues.
- Providing enrichment to stimulate your pet’s mind.
- Building confidence in shy and fearful dogs.
- Enhancing safety and saving your pet’s life.
A positive attitude goes far toward learning new tasks. Positive reinforcement is a key to teaching your dog or cat good behaviors and helping them stick. Reward him or her with immediate praise — petting, treats and toys — to associate good actions with rewards, but do not punish bad behavior.
Stick with It
Training should be a fun experience for the owner and pet, but animals are not always interested in learning a new behavior. To help your pet stay engaged, consider these tips:
- For high-energy pets or ones that are distracted easily – Exercise your pet to tire him or her out a bit before you begin the training session. Consider shorter sessions and keep to one task at a time. Additionally, seek out a quiet, comfortable location to start the session and minimize distractions.
- For pets who aren’t motivated by food treats – If your pet doesn’t respond to a specific food item, consider another one to entice action. If that doesn’t work, consider other rewards like toys, play time or petting.