This is a story of the first year I spent with Max. When I was still a dog newbie, and I had to spend some afternoons alone with him as a child, I realised one or two things about training him.
I really struggled to understand what he wanted sometimes – he was still a puppy, and I was confused with his feeding, sleeping and toilet requirements. But, soon, I realised that – other than love and company – these are the three things he needs. So here is how I kept track of all three and made living with him more enjoyable than ever!
I stuck to a regular schedule – this is a must. The dog needs to realise when it is time to eat, when it is time to go out and when it is time to, well, go.
We eat twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. Food is regular, with no nasty surprises. And, barring the occasional treat (see below), this is when you want your dog to eat – no more, otherwise it will disrupt its other schedules.
Walking also is in the morning and the evening – to coincide with any bathroom-going opportunities. If I had time we would also go in the afternoon at some point, much to Max’s delight!
Nap time is quite intuitive – your dog needs to realise when the lights go out it is time to sleep and be quiet; even if your schedules may not coincide completely, it is okay to be away for a while at night.
And now comes the most important part: treats! This is the way that your dog learns really well what it should do. I still remember the excitement of Max when he saw those cookies, when he learned what “Sit!” meant.
It is important to remember that your dog likes habits and also likes rewards, so building on those two thoughts, you should be able to cultivate a perfect relationship!