ummer is in full swing. With poolside fun, romps
on the beach, nautical adventures and woodsy
workouts, how does one keep their dog safe and
well-behaved? Training guru, author and television
personality, Justin Silver, has our backs. Here are his top tips.
The Right Message
Tell the dog what you want him to do, not what you don’t. Being
outdoors opens up a variety of stimuli, making it that much more
important to have their commands down. Use them to direct or
re-direct the dog, and avoid the “don’t do that” syndrome.
Everything is an opportunity to train. In structured play, a dog
needs to follow a certain protocol to get what she wants. It
reduces anxiety and lets the dog know what is expected of
her. Hikes, Frisbee and interactive games like fetch or tug of war
using the “drop it” command are all good. Even in the dog park,
there should be some rules. Dogs with rules benefit from burning
energy without getting too amped up and creating anxiety.
Boating and Sailing
Motoring the high seas may be fun for some, but it is good to
have a safe place for Fido to rest. A comfortable mat and the
command, “go to your spot,” comes in very handy. Begin at home,
bringing the dog to his mat and putting him in a sit/stay position.
Reward when he stays put. Then, start lengthening the time and
introducing distractions. Go slowly and reward.
Pool and Beach
While most dogs love to swim, some can be aqua-phobic. To
get a dog used to water, incremental exposure is key; never just
push them in. Using treats and a patient, understanding attitude,
inch your dog to the shallow end. Go from there. At the beach,
the “come” command is critical. Start practicing at home by
using a 20 to 30-foot training leash and graduate to increasingly
challenging environments. Testing or proving the dog’s prowess
with the command at the beach is the ultimate reward.
From mystery meat to a nasty pile of doo, there will always be
not-so-good things dogs are attracted to. Mastering the “leave
it” and “drop it” commands are critical to Fido's health and
your peace of mind. Teach with your dog on leash using a less
exciting object to start. As you walk past and they investigate,
happily call their name. When they look at you, say “Leave it!”
Repeat frequently, upping the ante with coveted toys and treats.
For “drop it,” use a toy the dog likes, letting him hold it in its
mouth. Do not tug. Introduce a treat, and when he decides the
treat is too good to refuse, he will drop the toy. At that moment
say, “Drop it!” while showing an open hand. Practice and reward,
starting when the dog loosens his grip to, eventually, waiting
until he actually drops it.
Learn more fun summer training tips in Silver’s new book, The
Language of Dogs , available at thelanguageofdogs.com. PH
Celebrity trainer, Justin Silver, dishes out
no-nonsense tips on keeping dogs safe and happy.
BY JODY MILLER-YOUNG
POOLING RESOURCES Justin gives Ollie a swimming lesson.
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