Dogs have a way of unifying a family and forcing everyone to think outside of themselves for a little bit. A dog also forces everyone to get outside, get active, and live an overall more active lifestyle! In fact – researchers at Michigan State University found that dog owners are 34% more likely to walk for 150 minutes (that’s 2 1/2 hours!) per week than those who do not own a dog. The same study also concluded that owning a dog increases leisure physical activity by 69%!
While this is all well and good – what do we do when that dog causes more stress and strain on a family and home environment than we originally signed up for?? Well, it’s time to take a look at who is actually running the household!
The truth is – dogs need a leader. They need exercise, they need love, and they need training! If you’re unable to provide those things for a potential furry friend, it’s probably best to wait until your family is ready. If you already have a dog that is misbehaving, it’s time to start incorporating those things into your daily routine by following these 5 steps to a well-trained (and thus, well-behaved) dog:
Step #1 – Establish Boundaries
Pets need to know that they’re pets and not people so that they, in turn, respect everyone in the family as above them. This can easily be done by establishing spacial boundaries and rules. For example – don’t allow pets on the furniture, have them sleep in their own bed and/or their own room at night, or do not allow them access to every room in the house. This will demonstrate to your pet who the leader is.
Step #2 – Start Them Young
We’ve all heard the saying- you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, that’s a saying for a reason! Training should start the day you bring the cute little guy home. Allowing a puppy to misbehave is often harmless, but remember – that puppy is going to get bigger. And as such, that problem is going to get bigger! Start training early and don’t allow a problem to continue.
Step #3 – Teach The Basics
All dogs should learn the three basic behaviors of “Sit,” “Come,” and “Stay.” If your dog doesn’t already know these, start today! Wait until they have mastered one until moving on to the next!
Step #4 – Exercise
A happy dog is a tired dog. Dogs have energy that needs to be released on a daily basis. Get in the daily habit of taking them on walks. Make it a family affair! This gives them a chance to burn through some energy and gives you a chance to get outside and get more active!
Step #5 – Keep It Positive
Dogs aren’t perfect and they’re going to make mistakes, however, they have an inborn desire to please. Have grace for your pup as they are learning to navigate their way through your world. In order for them to learn, we need to be good teachers!