The Unsung Importance of Pet Brain Training
The world is incomplete without animals. It has often been said that we are higher species of animals. Whether that is debatable or not, what is uncontroversial is that pets are invaluable companions to humans. There is no gainsaying that the role many of the animals play surpasses what some humans offer the society. I don’t mean to downplay the essence of human relationship but to state how important pets are to our modern society. If they are such crucial, then we should not joke with their cognitive training. Of all pets, the commonest is dog, hence, this will form the thrust of our discussion in this piece.
Understanding the Concept of Brain Training
One of the leading voices of dog training, Adrienne Farricelli, defines braining training as “developing your dog’s intelligence.” What this means is that our ability to train our dogs in a way that stimulates them emotionally and expands their thinking faculty; developing them mentally.
Most people are normally frustrated with the training of their dogs because they adopt the wrong approach. Insanity is when you do the same thing the same way and expect a different result. This is what Tiara Nixon refers to as “pack theory.” Dogs should not be trained as wolves or a mere animal; when you are about to train your dog, envisage a partner and companion. That is why it is advisable that you adopt science-based techniques. Science-based approach allows you to impart your dog with the behaviour you want to see in it through conditioned and consistent method. That is, you take a step at a time without enforcing anything on the dog. When knowledge is impartded through enlightenment, it is more likely to be embraced than when it is imposed.
Hence, you need no chains nor fetters to train your dog. By being consistent and purposeful in the skills you want your dog to imbibe, it would learn them without being resistant. Research shows that even older dogs are always ready to learn. Thus, if your dog is not cooperating with you, it means the fault is largely yours.
Practical Techniques to Train Dogs
Training a dog’s brain is easy if you can adhere to the principles and guidelines as reeled out below.
Be optimistic: If you are being pessimistic, even if you spend a thousand years training the dog, you will not see desired changes.
Simplicity: Begin with basic instructions that the dog can easily grab such as ‘come’, ‘stop’, ‘stay’, ‘roll over’, among others. The simpler the commands, the easier they are to learn.
Reward system: Anytime your dog wows you, don’t hesitate to lavish it with prizes. This will trigger the dog to repeat such behaviour. Just like humans, rewards are memorable and encouraging. It is certain that the dog will react positively to the reward and keep making you happy through that desired behaviour.
Avoid distractions: Dogs don’t learn maximally when their attention is divided. Anytime you’re about teaching new skills, do so in distraction-free environment. This will make the process productive. Dealing with distractions can be stressful for the dog and yourself.
Fun: Don’t be too serious throughout the training session; if it becomes boring, the dog will be passive. The training shouldn’t last for too long. Learning is procedural and it takes time to get desired results. After learning a trick or two, you may call it a day.
Be affectionate: Dogs love to be cared for. Showing them affection is capable of propelling their retentive ability. You may pat it at the head, hug warmly, and call it sweet names. All these will keep the dog bound to you.
Set boundaries: Introduce the dog to its new home; walk it through the interior and exterior of your apartment. Do this several times in order to make it know where its boundaries are.
Frequent training sessions: Again, let the sessions be short but effective. A maximum of five minutes for each session is acceptable. This can run for ten times in a day, depending on the attention span of the dog. There are no two dogs that are the same. Hence, don’t overburden your dog just because a neighbor’s own is operating at a certain level.
Quit when the ovation is loudest: Never end a training session on a low note; stop the training when the dog is doing well on a particular command. It would carry on with that throughout the day. However, if you stop at a trick it is finding difficult to grab, it will erode it of every other thing learnt during the process.
Short but active words: Commands should not go beyond two-syllable words at the beginning for easy mastery. The dog would be fascinated to do something straightforward than one that involves racking of the brain.
Impacts of Training Dog’s Brain
There are numerous effects of training a dog’s brain:
Training your dog’s brain makes it less anxious, more sociable and happier.
It bolsters the dog’s confidence at all places—in the public setting or at home.
It increases the bond between you and your dog.
Highly cognitive dogs can prove invaluable when looking for lost items.
It ensures the release of pleasure hormone—oxytocin.
Training ensures mental stimulation which is highly needed for bringing up an all-round dog.
When you train your dog, it would confidently read people’s non-verbal cues without errors.
The dog will respond appropriately to verbal utterances.
It drastically reduces stress hormone—cortisol—in the dog’s brain.
In all, you have a dog that does your biddings without stress. This is the ultimate purpose of training the dog’s brain in the first place. We want a dog we can be proud of, which can be a true companion and reliable defender in all circumstances.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2019 Dalibor Selucký