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General Training Tips

Easy ways to teach your pooch some doggone manners

Few things will land you on your neighbor’s bad list faster than poor dog etiquette. The good news is that being a respectful dog owner boils down to two major things: Be conscientious and don’t be lazy. Proper dog etiquette can mean the difference between living peacefully amongst your neighbors and living a life fraught with conflict and turmoil. Here’s how to make sure you’re doing what you can to be on the right path.

Make sure your dog knows basic public etiquette

As a dog owner, you don’t have to teach your dog dozens of tricks. They don’t have to be able to balance a ball on their nose or be able to bark the numbers one through 10. All your dog has to do is be able to exhibit basic public etiquette, otherwise known as not being rude around other people.

First, this means they will need to know the basic commands. These are fairly easy to teach. If your dog knows how to sit, stay, come, and get down, you’re well on your way to having a dog that behaves well in public. Etiquette around dining situations is also crucial (think neighborhood BBQs!). Your dog should learn not to beg for food and to never be aggressive with any food item.

Avoid the temptation to forgo the leash

If you have a well-behaved dog whom you feel comfortable with, it’s tempting to just leave the leash inside when playing in the front yard or going on a quick walk around the block. Try to resist this urge. It’s okay to have your dog unleashed in a fenced-in area like your backyard or the dog park, but in all other scenarios it’s just good etiquette to keep them leashed up. A dog that’s simply being friendly can frighten or injure kids, for example. A leash just gives you ultimate control, and you’re better safe than sorry.  There are different leashes and collars that work better for certain dogs and situations. Another way to keep your dog safe is to invest in a GPS dog tracker. A high-quality GPS dog tracker can help you find your dog if he escapes your property.

Limit the Barking

Dogs bark. It’s just a fact of life. But there is a point in which the occasional bark turns into a full-fledged barking crisis – one that will make neighbors enemies really quickly. You can’t be a conscientious dog-owning neighbor if your dog is outside in the backyard incessantly barking. If your dog is alert barking at things outside, its best to keep him indoors. You can’t change this behavior if you’re not there to provide immediate feedback.

It’s fairly simple to curb a dog’s barking if he is barking for attention. Dogs bark to get attention and when you give them attention, they learn that barking works to get them what they want. If you don’t give them the attention they want, they will eventually stop trying that method. The moment your dog looks at you and starts barking for attention, simply say ‘bye’ and walk away. Your dog will learn that his barking makes you go away, which is the opposite of what he wants, and this should eliminate attention barking.

Finally, you should teach your dog to stop barking on command. This is done with positive reinforcement including giving out treats when they are nice and quiet.

Clean up

Does it need to be said? Well, you’ve stepped in a big pile before – so you answer that. Some (rude) dog owners must think that dog poop degrades quickly or something, because many owners fail to clean up their dog’s mess. This is dog-owner etiquette rule No. 1 – be a proactive pooper-scooper.

The overarching goal of being a good dog owner is to always remember that nobody loves your dog as much as you do. Your dog may not bother you when it does A, B, or C, but it bothers others. Think about ways to make you and your pet leave the smallest footprint on your neighborhood as possible and you’ll be well on your way to developing good ties (or mending broken ones) with your neighbors.

Photo by Samantha Scholl on Unsplash

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