You might have already met our newest fur baby that we adopted last summer. Our Siberian Husky, Everest (named after Paw Patrol!) has been the PERFECT addition to our active family. That’s not to say that there weren’t a few “quirks” that she came with that would not work for me or our family.
For one, she had a terrible habit of jumping on EVERYONE. She’s 65 pounds, we couldn’t have her tackling anyone that tried to come into our home.
For two, she pulled like CRAZY on walks. Again, she’s 65 pounds, and when she is on a mission to pull she will drag you right along with her! I wanted a running partner, not a crazy force of energy dragging me all around our neighborhood.
Enter our amazing dog trainer, Danielle. I found her through a local group of fellow bloggers (check out her blog here) and I don’t know what we would have done without her. She worked with us on Everest for a little over a month and I can’t believe the shift. She no longer jumps up on guests and I can take her for walks with slack in the leash and she stays right by my side!
Throughout the month, Danielle helped educate us on the basics of dog training. Once she explained the basic concepts, it was like a giant [DUH] moment for me. It all makes so much sense now. I wanted to share with you a few gems that I picked up that you can start to use on your dog immediately.
Dog Training Tips that you should start to Use Right Now:
Feed your pet high quality food
The first thing we did when we started working with our trainer was switch to a better food. Not only had we unintentionally put 10 pounds on our poor dog (so sorry, Everest!) the food we were feeding her only exacerbated her crazy energy. As our trainer put it, “It’s like feeding a toddler food full of sugar and then expecting them to be calm.”
We recently started feeding Everest Freshpet and she is OBSESSED. I’m talking put the bowl in front of her and she will scarf it down like she has never been fed in her life. I love Freshpet because it’s just like a home cooked meal you’d make for your pet! Freshpet also never uses artificial or chemical preservatives, or any mysterious ingredients like chicken meal.
Your tone of voice should reflect the verbal commands that you’re giving
Basically if the command is something where they should demonstrate calmness, keep your tone of voice calm. If you want them to have high energy and respond with enthusiasm, put that into your tone. For example: Giving the “sit” command? Use an upward inflection. Want your dog to “lay down”? Use a downward inflection.
Your energy should reflect the energy you seek in your dog
It is so tempting to get angry and yell when your dog is being crazy. That only encourages the crazy behavior and feeds into it. Stay calm and ignore your dog until they correct themselves. And don’t be afraid to put them in “time out” (in their kennel/crate) until they learn to manage their frustration and energy.
Don’t work against the opposition reflex
The biggest behavior that we wanted to correct in Everest was her incredible urge to pull on walks. We wanted to take nice, calm family walks and not feel like our 65 pound dog was pulling us all over the place.
Dogs have what’s called the “opposition reflex” where basically they instinctively want to oppose whatever type of pressure they’re feeling. So when Everest pulls and I’m pulling back on her, it only makes her want to pull more to resist the pressure that I’m putting against her.
Our dog trainer recommended that we get a Gentle Leader collar to help correct this behavior in a safe and quick way. It is AMAZING and I can’t wait to share my review later with you guys!
Between the positive reinforcement, better diet, and energy management tactics Everest is almost like a completely different dog. If you’ve got a dog with a few “quirks”, I guarantee if you follow these quick tips (starting with a better diet) you will see quick results with your fur baby. 🙂
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.