YOUR DOG'S MIND
Dogs are similar to humans in that they need both companionship and mental and physical stimulation to achieve their potential. They respond well to rewards and develop bad habits when bored. They're always learning, whether they are being trained or not. Good habits or bad. However, dogs are not people in disguise. Every dog has its own unique personality, level of intelligence, attention span and their trainability will vary individually. People have breed various dogs to have more of the wolf's personality traits and other breeds to have less. Overall, the dog is our best animal friend because it is willing to live within a human pack and has a strong desire to communicate with us. Your dog thinks in a very logical way which is much simpler than humans. Like the dogs ancestor the wolf, they are pack animals. They respect and respond to their pack leader and are primarily interested in survival and comfort. Within the dogs family each individual falls into a pecking order, if you will. All the humans who are in the dogs pack therefore should be above their dog in terms of pecking order otherwise, problems may arise. To a dog, survival means food. In terms of training, this means that they often respond to food as a reward for good behaviour. Within the family the dog must have a human as the pack leader. Dogs respond to the pack leader and will obey him or her. Listening to humans is important in order for the dog to be safe, secure and follow the social norms of the family. Few dogs want to become pack leaders. The vast majority feel safe, secure, and content knowing that there is someone in command. This means that they are looking for you to be their leader. A pack leader within a dog group will monitor the other dogs behaviour and let them know what the norms are and when they are being broken. You'll do the same as their leader. One way for you to become the pack leader is by doing basic training with your dog. For instance, you can work on basic skills such as sit, stay, come etc. By doing this sort of basic training you are sending the dog the message that you are the leader of the pack because you are telling the dog what to do, just like withing the dog pack. Each obedience training reinforces and teaches dogs to respond to commands given by humans and to see them as the leader. You can add to the basic, sit, stay etc. by asking your dog to do other things such as, to sit in his bed when the family is eating and to sit when he is presented his dog bowl. By adding to the list of commands you are reinforcing your leadership. Obviously, keeping in mind that your dog is not a robot and enjoys making his/her own choices within safe bounderies. Dogs seek comfort. If you let your puppy sit on the furniture in your home, it will always think it is allowed to sit there. You can avoid this problem by providing your dog with its own comfortable personal space. Show your dog what you want him to do and praise him for doing it. Mental stimulation. Dogs need mental as well as, physical stimulation. Providing your dog with a small selection of unique toys to play with teaches it to chew only certian items. Most dogs live boring and predictable lives so try to change up where you go on walks to add some fun. Rewarding good behaviour. Always reward good behaviour, but do not expect your dog to respond the first time you issue a command. However, dogs soon learn to associate certian words with specific reactions and rewards. Small dogs. From birth large dogs require more food, so food is an effective reward. Smaller dogs require less food, so it may be a less powerful reward. Small breeds are often more selective eaters than larger ones. In this case you may need to find some especially tempting reward such as chopped-up hot dogs or cheese, which generally works well. Social gatherings. Make sure your puppy is properly socialized with other dogs when it is young. If it is not, it may feel secure only with human companions when it matures. Dogs who enjoy other dogs company have a lot of fun and it also means you will be able to take him to the park for exercise. Personal space. Like wolves, dogs instinctively defend their pack's territory. Dogs learn to recognize the perimeters of their human family's territory, whether it is the car, the home, or the garden, and will defend it.