When it comes to living life in our modern world there are many things that perplex our overworked brains. For instance, if a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around to hear it . . . does it make a sound? Did George W. Bush ever own a dictionary? And of course the obvious, when I play a game of fetch with my puppy why does he fetch the cat’s poop and not the stick?
While we can’t answer question one and two, (although our guess is yes and definitely not) we can help you out on the cat poop thing. Read on to find our simple tips for training your pet more efficiently . . . and a lot less complicated.
Lesson One: You Can’t Lose if You Can’t Lose
When it comes to teaching your dog all the ins and outs of obedience, sometimes it can feel like you are winning at a losing game. You yell fetch . . . he goes for the nearest object that you did not throw.
When it comes to teaching the fetch command, often one of the first tricks attempted by pets and their owners, it is a smart move to put the odds in your favor. When you walk out into the backyard, take away the “failure factors”. If there are other toys in the backyard and you throw a ball, chances are he’s not headed for the ball. A bevy of distractions will send your pups thoughts wayward every time.
So when it comes to lesson one, it’s simple. You’re more likely to win if you can’t lose. So keep those distractions to a nil.
Lesson Two: Bribery is God’s Gift to Parents . . . and Pet Owners
When it comes to teaching your pet . . . and getting your kids to clean their room for that matter, a little bribery goes a long way. Reward your pet for a job done well. When you are working on sitting, slip him a Bacon Bit for feet firmly planted on the ground. When he brings back an object, give him a Milk Bone.
Lesson Three: Be a Blubbering Idiot . . . We Won’t Tell
When it comes to rewarding your pet, snacks and praise go hand in hand. When your pet completes a command or achieves the success of a trick you’ve been working on – sing his praises. Here is where things get fun . . . and funny. When it comes to praise, a simple pat on the head may not suffice. (Especially if you are already very affectionate with your pet.)
When we say sing his praises, we mean it. Treat him like he’s a Jonas brother that just walked into a run of fainting tween fans. From repeated pets and “good dogs” to belly rubs and “who’s mama’s wittle baby”, you can’t go wrong even if you sound horribly insane.
Lesson Four: Just Say No
One thing we are all guilty of is wondering where we went wrong when the answer may be clearer than we would like to admit. We let Mr. Fluffkins jump all over our legs as we answer the door yet scold him when he knocks our mother in law to her feet. We let him lick the macaroni off our plates and are then horrified when he runs up to our boss’s kid in the park and snatches his ice-cream.
When it comes to teaching our pet’s human manners we have to be consistent. Just like we wouldn’t expect our four year old who all too often stuffs spaghetti in her nose to be able to sit through the likes of a four course meal at the Ritz, we have to expect that our pet’s won’t be able to hold their own either if we don’t’ show them the ropes.
Of course, you can still give in to the little luxuries of life with your pet but set a few boundaries. Sure, your poodle can lick the plate . . . after you offer. Jumping is ok . . . when invited with a friendly pat on the knees. While it may be difficult at first, it will save you a world of “I’m sorry” in the future.