When the dog you have adopted comes home, it is natural that you want to shower all love and affection on him. You want him to feel welcome, so you give him a free run of the house. You give into his boisterous ways of showing affection and allow him to jump all over you. To make him feel at home, you feed him scraps from the table. What better way to bond with the dog than to partake of the same meal!
What is acceptable behavior now may not be so when you have company. When the dog begs to be fed from the table when guests are dining, you become irritated. The overexcitement the dog shows at your arrival is embarrassing when people are around, especially when the dog turns a deaf ear to all your commands. You suddenly find that the honeymoon is over.
Overindulgence in the initial period is detrimental to the character formation of the dog. If you have not trained him with the right commands, he will not obey you now, no matter how loudly you shout at him. Your unexpected reaction will only confuse the dog, and it will start acting all the more silly. By the time it becomes apparent to you, it might be too late.
The importance of training the dog
Your dog doesn’t understand English, or any other language for that matter. It is by repeating commands over and over again, and rewarding desired responses, that you teach the dog what is expected of him when a command is uttered. The meaning of simple words like come, sit, stay, stop, heel etc., are slowly understood by the dog. But if you’ve never taught these commands to him in the first place, how is he going to respond to them? You need to have a set of simple words to effectively communicate with the dog.
Importance of establishing rules and setting up limits
There’s no need to worry that setting up limits would curb the dog’s natural abilities. As we all know, dogs have descended from wolves. They are pack animals who hunt under the leadership of the most dominant animal in the pack. He is the ‘Alpha Male’. The rest of the pack obeys this leader, and sticks together as one family, while acting aggressively towards members of other packs.
Dogs haven’t lost all their natural tendencies even now. The obedience of the dog to his master, friendliness towards other family members, and aggressive behavior towards strangers all stem from his natural instincts. Your dog needs an Alpha Male to look up to, and it should be you. You should define what your dog can do and shouldn’t do. If you do not exert your superiority over the dog, he feels lost. He may start assuming that he is the Alpha Male. Even dangerous situations can result if the dog refuses to obey anyone.
The training of the dog should start as early as the very first day if the dog is up to it. If it is extremely ill at ease when it comes home, you can wait until he feels a bit more comfortable in your presence. While training the dog, you should show that you are in command by gentle firmness. You should be consistent too.
A disciplined dog makes a happy dog because when he knows what is expected of him, it is easy for him to behave accordingly. It makes you a good master too.