1. Use Eye Contact
One of the most important moments in building a contact between you and your dog is an eye contact. Dog must understand, that all the pleasures and fun is coming from YOU. Such a simple and every day situations as breakfast and dinner, going outside, letting off the leash, giving a ball or a snack, games with other dogs, everything must be earned.
First exercise I would recommend to begin from:
Sit down in front of your dog and take a snack into the left or right hand. Give to smell that dog would clearly know about the snack. Keep your hand on the side. Puppy will concentrate to your hand with a snack.
Your goal is to wait and caught the moment when puppy looks directly at your eyes without saying anything. At the second puppy looks right at your eyes fix it with clicker (if you use one) or praise by word.
And than give that snack from the hand. Do it many times and extend the eye contact keeping it longer and longer. Don’t forget to switch the hand with a snack.
2. Use Every Situation
Make all situations special by “asking” for the eye contact and concentration. Regular every day situations as: breakfast and dinner – give a command to sit in front of the food bowl and wait till dog will rise a head to look at your eyes. Fix it by praising and let to eat. Going outside for a walk – you are the first who goes outside. Look at the dog and wait for eye contact, only than let to run out. And the other similar situations as letting off the leash, giving a ball or a snack, games with other dogs – use them: command sit, eye contact and GO.
Don’t forget to extend the eye contact at least up to 10 seconds. These exercises won’t take an extra time (well up to 30 seconds each…) but you will win much closer contact and stronger understanding between you and your dog. Beside that dog will learn to concentrate and it’s a good way to discipline and control the dog.
3. Too Much Love Becomes a Mistake. Control It
Most of the dog owners love their pets too much and places them as a child, what usually is unhealthy. Important things for every day dog’s life are: exercise, discipline and affection. If dog is pet in every step, that kind of submissive behavior from the owner is confusing for the dog. Owner is supposed to be a leader and dominate. Treating a dog like a child doesn’t mean that you are a great owner.
It’s not a bad thing to love your dog, that’s wonderful and I would say necessary. Just don’t forget that you are the leader and dog must know it from the very first day it comes to your home.
I love my dogs more than professional trainers would “allow”, but I do control my emotions and use every situation to give a discipline. I never let the dog run away, if the command was not finished yet.
4. Understand Your Dog And Communicate Like a Dog
In the natural wild life a leader is always calm and emphatic, otherwise others wouldn’t follow it. So never train or even discipline your dog when you’re angry. This is why, when people in the park are screaming their voice off, the dogs won’t respond. This, indeed, doesn’t mean you can’t use voice to get the dog’s attention. When I want my dog to come to me, I call it expressively and clearly but not in an angry way. Angry tone would undermine my position of authority. If the dog doesn’t listen me, I move closer to it instead of shout louder. Dogs communicate through eye contact, physical touch and energy. If the dog is trained well and contact was built correctly, the leader can bring a misbehaving dog in line just by staring. However, most people can’t do this, so the leash is a right tool.
5. Explore New Places With Your Dog
Naturally, dogs like to migrate, it makes them to be happy and intellectual. Take a look at homeless or constant traveller’s dogs – usually they are never aggressive, running without a leash next to the big streets, has a surprisingly strong connection to their owners. These dogs are constantly stimulated and it makes them to be both happy and intellectual.
Don’t walk your dog every day to the same location and at the same time. Try to take it with everywhere you can and move around exposing your dog to different environments and experiences.
Many hunters or farmers, also disabled people who rely on their dogs have this harmony as well. In all these circumstances the dog is given a job to do, and at the time dog completes it – is rewarded.
6. Communicate During the Walk
As you already know, your dog needs exercise, discipline and affection (in that order). Anything else may and will confuse it. The best gift for your dog is a long walk.
During the walk don’t forget where you are and what you do. Don’t be only concentrated to your mobile phone or a friend. Always have an eye on your dog and stay connected. Call it to come, praise, give a snack. Call again and give a toy or just a tree branch, play for a few minutes and let it run again. Make the dog know that coming to you means fun and there is no other way. Lastly, never pet a dog when he’s being aggressive with other dogs or people. It would teach him that he’s behavior was right.
7. Always Finish the Command Till the End
No matter whether you are at home, outside or some other place, the command which was given must be completed till the end. If you are in a hurry and have no time to wait for dog to sit, don’t tell him sit. If the dog doesn’t react to the command, you must come to it closer and mechanically push to sit or lay down. Stay calm and concrete. Praise the dog.
If your dog doesn’t listen the command to come, use a long and very thin (~20 m / 65 ft) leash or just a strong rope outside.
Give a command to come, if the dog doesn’t react, repeat it second time, if there is no respond again, quickly and strongly pull the leash towards you. The dog might be highly surprised what has happened. Give the command once again and praise a dog. Give a snack and pet it.
Never loose to your dog. Love it with all your heart but be a respectable and smart leader.