The Role of Training in Pet Ownership

Posted by on Mar 22, 2016 in Education and Information | 0 comments

The Role of Training in Pet Ownership

It can be daunting to train a new pet. After all, hours of giving commands to your new pooch or feline may not be your idea of a great weekend. Nonetheless, it’s important to train your pet – especially in homes with children or other animals. Training is imperative to ensure that she or he behaves around new people, other pets, and at home.

Training your pet is your responsibility.  A dog that isn’t housetrained or a cat that claws at everyone will not only become a nuisance to you, but you may eventually feel you have to relinquish your pet. Many problem behaviors are easy to change with positive reinforcement. Ultimately, when you take on a pet, it is your job to make sure they behave, no matter how long it takes to train the animal.

Because training is different with every animal and pet parent, you may want to take your pet to a professional. Professional trainers are skilled in teaching manners and obedience to pets and pet parents. Before going to a trainer, try to train your pet on your own. Remember, like parenting children, they don’t know what you want from them unless you teach them.

It is critical that you do not use harsh or inhumane methods to train your pet. Shock collars, choke chains, pronged collars, physical or verbal abuse, long periods of isolation and declawing are never acceptable. 

Ultimately, your pet needs to be responsive to your commands. We’ve listed below some techniques to keep in mind while training your pet:

  1. Make sure you show your pet affection. Most animals know when their owner is unhappy with them. However, few get praise when they do the right thing. If your pet is showing good behavior, don’t forget to reward them with lots of pets and hugs.
  2. Make sure your rewards are really rewards. Ensure that the treats you give your pet are ones they actually like. Also, don’t shy away from different types of non-food rewards. For instance, taking your dog for a walk or throwing down some catnip for your feline could be just as rewarding as a treat.
  3. Be realistic. When you try to correct a behavior, make sure you’re realistic about the behaviors you want to correct. Many are natural behaviors for these animals to have, and will take a time and lots of work to break. Also, if you’ve allowed your pet get away with a certain behavior and now want to change it, your pet might not respond well at first. Be persistent, but don’t be too harsh.
  4. Consistency is vital. It is critical that you reinforce the behavior that you want and ignore the behavior you don’t want. Allowing the pet to get away with bad behavior sometimes and not others sends mixed messages. Consistency is the key to successful training.

Using these guidelines, your pet’s behavior will usually improve. Don’t get discouraged if your pet doesn’t respond at first; persist in your training. Training your pet is your responsibility as an owner. Take the time to do it correctly. It can be a fun, bonding experience for you and your pet.

Don’t forget that puppies need to begin training immediately. And remember, older pets that are available from shelters and rescues are often trained before they are adopted!


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