Dog whisperer? It may sound like a weird term to those who’re not really familiar with canine terminology. Well, a dog whisperer is someone who can understand and interpret communication with a dog. Guided by such understanding, a dog whisperer is thus well-equipped to train a dog, albeit in a somewhat unconventional manner. You can call it a more humane way of training and handling a dog. While individual dog whisperers may have different tips and tricks to offer for training and handling a dog, there are certain general rules to be followed by pet owners.
Exercise your dog well
To keep your dog happy and satisfied, it’s important to keep it well and healthily exercised. If you don’t have a regular exercise routine for your dog, you’re unlikely to be able to train it. In the absence of adequate exercise, a dog tends to get annoyed and irritable. And there’s no way you can possibly train and handle a dog in that state.
Discipline is the key
Yes, discipline is extremely important for a dog, just as it is for a child. You’re probably familiar with the need for a proper and manageable schedule while teaching your child. The same is true for your dog. So schedule the process with set timings for your dog’s daily chores, be it training, exercising, eating or playing. But don’t get excessive with the disciplinary techniques. Punishing your dog every time, it makes a mistake or is being difficult will make things tough for both, your pet and you.
Single-minded focus will help you create the right environment for training your dog. Just keep your eye on your goal, and don’t allow your impatience or frustrations to divert your attention from it. An integral part of discipline is consistency. You’ve got to be consistent with your pet’s training schedule. While taking care not to be harsh, you need to convey to your dog that deviant behavior is not acceptable. If you let it get away with it once, it’s going to be difficult to convince your pet that certain behaviors are unacceptable.
Take the lead
Well, this isn’t really meant in the literal sense it’s generally used. That is, you don’t have to show your dog by example. All you need to do is behave and function like a leader so that your dog learns to respect and trust you. Let your dog know that its best interests lie in following you. A consequence to this is patience and confidence. Without these two valuable traits to guide you, there’s no way you’re going to earn your dog’s respect and trust.
Armed with these characteristics, you’ll be able to sense your dog’s needs and fears, and address them accordingly. Be authoritative without being harsh and impatient. You need to realize that you are more mature than your pet, and that’s why you’re the leader. So give yourself and your dog sufficient time to understand each other. Remember, it’s as important for your pet to understand you as for you to empathize with your pet. Your dog first needs to understand and sense you before it can understand your commands.
Yes, even the best of dog whisperers believe in making dog training a collective and collaborative affair. Let your family join in the process. You should, of course, take care to ensure that your dog recognizes and accepts you as the sole leader, but let your family members also be aligned with you in thought and in action. This will help make the training program more holistic and complete.
Give them space
This is a kind of extension of the discipline theory. Like human beings, dogs also like their own space and you, therefore, need to define such space by setting boundaries. The whole idea of setting boundaries in your house relates to giving space to your pet, and to yourself. Certain places are meant for your pet to go freely, others aren’t. Understanding what these spaces are will help you define them properly, as part of your dog training process.
These are some general tips that all dog whisperers generally share with dog owners and trainers. Be humane in your dog handling, but don’t overdo that. If you continue to pamper and treat your pet like a baby, you’d never really be able to train it. Before starting (and remember, it’s never too late to begin), prepare a list of what you want your pet to do. Start on a positive note, which means focus on the dos and not the don’ts. So your list should contain all the things you want your dog to do, and do well, rather than activities that you don’t want it to engage in. For example, don’t just tell your dog what not to chew; instead, give it things it can chew. After all, if you don’t know what you expect from your dog, how’s that poor animal going to figure it out?
Consistency, as mentioned earlier, is extremely important to the entire exercise of training your dog. If you’re going to pet it once in a while for jumping on the bed, it’ll be difficult indeed to teach it that jumping is really bad and never acceptable. Communication is an art that you need to infuse yourself with in order to connect and bond with your dog. And while setting your communication and training goals, be realistic. There are certain things some dogs are genetically not built to do, so there’s no point in allowing yourself to get frustrated by repeatedly trying to teach that to your pet. Patience is critical to the training process, as dog whisperer Danny Dog says in his video over at the Online Dog Trainer.
Finally, don’t look at the training process as a monotonous chore. Learn to enjoy it, so that your dog can enjoy it too. Together, the two of you can have a lot of fun this way. And your dog will definitely learn faster.