One of the most important things when raising your pup is to make sure you are calm and keep the training sessions on track. It’s hard. Puppies have an attention span of about 10 seconds before they go do something else that is more fun to them. Sometimes they can learn how to sit and stay but can’t figure out how to not pee in their crate. It can drive any owner nuts. But staying calm and reinforcing good behavior and deterring bad behavior is the best way to ensure you have a well-behaved dog.
5 Ways to Stay Calm
- Relax, take a breathe – your dog is not doing any of the bad things on purpose. She might be bored, might not understand what you’re asking her to do. Make sure you fulfill her needs and take her out, play with her, and keep her on a schedule of potty breaks. Be the leader and make sure her energy is drained with play, exercise, and stimulating training sessions. A bored dog can become a destructive dog. When you leave for work or can’t watch her and crate her, give her a toy stuffed with treats or something to keep her occupied for a little bit. All this helps her stay calm and happy and you too!
- Check yourself – Sometimes your dog’s energy is a reflection of your own. If your dog is not calm, it could be because you’re not. If your dog barks like crazy at other dogs or seems weary, it might be because you have nervous energy too. If your dog refuses to walk with you, tries to pull, it could be because you’re frustrated. Check your own mood, try to focus on the walk, focus on the energy you’re emitting, and project a calmer attitude. Chances are your dog will act calmer too.
- Live in the moment – you’ve heard that many times I’m sure. Staying present is not easy. We worry about bills, what is for dinner, what happened at work, we think about everything and nothing at once. But if you can redirect yourself to focus on the moment, you can be present and be calmer. When walking your dog, walk. Look at where you are stepping, look around you, watch your dog, and praise her when she walks nicely with you. When training, put down your phone, focus on the training session. Be right there. If you do this with your dog, you may find yourself doing it in other parts of your life. It’s a practice. It takes time. But it can be rewarding in many ways.
- Go take a walk in a park – a change of scenery can calm you down. A walk through a park is a good way to get a little piece of nature. Leave the phone at home. Walk with your dog through a park, smell the different scents of trees and flowers, and listen to the birds, water if there is a stream, and look around. Watch how your dog wants to explore everything in parks. Let her dog some sniffing and let her have some fun. When it’s time to walk, make sure she knows you’re taking charge and lead her on a brisk walk around the park. Then let her be rewarded by sniffing and checking things out at her leisure. It’s a give and take. She’ll understand when she can be a “dog” and when she is meant to follow you.
- Remember things take time – training takes time. No dog is perfect. Keep this in mind. Focus on the small successes and work towards the bigger goals. It’ll remind you that your dog is learning and getting smarter each day. And most of all, it helps you stay calm and not get frustrated when she has an accident or still has a habit of trying to get into the garbage. You’ll figure out what works and what doesn’t when you’re calmer and able to focus.
Image from MyBestBuddy