Dr. Al Townshend
When it comes to our pets, many consider training to be what we once referred to as obedience training. Today we know that training should go far beyond just learning a few commands.
Everything begins before the pet comes home.
- What are the house rules?
- Is getting on the bed or other furniture okay?
- Are there parts of the house that are off limits?
As with all of the learning a pet has to embrace, positive reinforcement is the best way to get the results you expect.
- Choose the pet’s name carefully. A short name with just one or two syllables will make it easy for the pet to recognize. Use it frequently until the pet recognizes it and responds every time you use it.
- A new puppy or kitten will obviously be stressed by being taken away from everything familiar and entering a new home. Coming into a new environment should be during a warm and quiet time and not include a lot of loud excitement. This is especially important for children to be aware of.
- Of course, potty training for both dogs and cats is important. It can take time, especially for dogs so always be patient. Learning their name and coming when called can really help.
- Always end every training session on a positive note and with a reward. Maybe a treat, but a pat on the head and a “good dog” can mean as much to your new companion.
Adult Dog and Cats
- Learning never ends for us and for our pets. Every day is an opportunity to teach your pets new things that enhance and enrich their lives and our lives as well.
- Socialization skills are always an ongoing learning experience. Every time a strange, non-family member comes to the door is an opportunity to enhance your pets’ comfort with new people in the home.
- Walks at the dog park are opportunities to perfect how your pet reacts to other dogs.
- Training must always be reinforced in a positive way.
- Our pets live in the moment and so skills and training can be forgotten if not reinforced through repetition.
Senior Dog and Cats
- The old saying that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” may hold true for humans, but our pets have the ability to learn every day, no matter how old they are.
- Learning should always continue to be rewarded, no matter the age.
- Learning stimulates both the mind and the body
- For older pets, we do need to be considerate of any limitations age has placed on our pets. Don’t expect more than they are capable of accomplishing.
Training would really be better termed “lifestyle enrichment”.
Positive reinforced learning can only enrich the pet’s life and the bond we all share with our pets.
Be sure and speak to any of the Ambassadors at your Pet Planet store about enriching your pet’s life through continued opportunities to learn.