It is important for responsible pet owners to train their animal in basic behaviors, as a trained pet is six times less likely to be surrendered or returned to a shelter. Well-behaved pets are more enjoyable for their owners and provide many additional benefits, including:
Strengthening your relationship with your pet.
Allowing more time for you to spend with your pet.
Providing enrichment to stimulate your pet’s mind.
Building confidence in shy and fearful dogs.
Enhancing safety and saving your pet’s life.
A positive attitude goes far toward learning new tasks. Positive reinforcement is a key to teaching your dog or cat good behaviors and helping them stick. Reward him or her with immediate praise — petting, treats and toys — to associate good actions with rewards, but do not punish bad behavior.
Stick with It
Training should be a fun experience for the owner and pet, but animals are not always interested in learning a new behavior. To help your pet stay engaged, consider these tips:
For high-energy pets or ones that are distracted easily – Exercise your pet to tire him or her out a bit before you begin the training session. Consider shorter sessions and keep to one task at a time. Additionally, seek out a quiet, comfortable location to start the session and minimize distractions.
For pets who aren’t motivated by food treats – If your pet doesn’t respond to a specific food item, consider another one to entice action. If that doesn’t work, consider other rewards like toys, play time or petting.