How to Raise a Trusting, Affectionate & Obedient Dog

Some dogs love their owners so much that they're willing to forget about their pride.

Some dogs love their owners so much that they're willing to forget about their pride.

Pups who show poor manners and seem neither affectionate nor trusting can lead to big problems, from bad manners to aggression, for everyone around them. Training, positive reinforcement and bunches of love will lead to a well-mannered and trusting canine who plants sloppy kisses on your face.

Obedience

For your pup to become obedient, you need to teach him. You might think obedience is nothing more than teaching your pup to sit or lay on command, but it goes much further. Obedience keeps your pup safe, instills confidence and leads to a strong bond with you. To teach your big guy obedience, start out slow and easy and practice in as many situations as possible. For example, teaching your pup to sit and lay are common starter commands. After he masters the commands, make him sit before going outside and lay before he gets a treat.

Positive Reinforcement

Try to take a positive approach when doing anything with your pup, from getting his nervous butt ready for his first car ride to teaching him the importance of staying on command. A good attitude and positive reinforcement can make your pup more trusting of you and people in general, and he'll be more willing to learn commands and tricks. Anytime he does something you want him to do again -- such as sitting on command -- tell him he's a good boy, rub his belly, give him a piece of cheese or do something he enjoys. When he does something you don't want him to do, such as jumping on people, a sharp, "Ah" with no reward is better than punishment.

Trust

Your dog naturally gravitates toward whomever feeds him, gives him water, takes him for walks, plays fetch with him, snuggles with him on the couch and makes an impact on his daily life. The more time you spend with your little rascal, the more affectionate and trusting he'll become. But remember to share duties with your significant other. If you're the only one who provides for your dog, he'll become less affectionate and trusting of your partner. This can lead to bad behaviors, including aggression and jealousy toward your significant other.

Counter Conditioning

Most negative behavior can be reversed with regular obedience training, positive reinforcement and counter conditioning. The basis for counter conditioning is to turn what your pup sees as a fear into something he can trust won't hurt him. Suppose your big guy becomes frightened when you pull out the vacuum. You want the vacuum to seem ordinary and boring, so slowly acclimatize him to it. Pull out the vacuum but don't turn it on. Once your pup finally decides to sniff it, give him a treat and praise him. Keep slowly upping the ante every day or two by moving the vacuum around, turning it on and letting it sit there and eventually moving it while it's on. Each time he reacts positively, praise him and give him a tasty snack. For intense fears or fear aggression, always ask for the help of your vet or a dog trainer.

 

About the Author

Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.

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