The holidays are here again! A time of joy, gratefulness, and food! Quite possibly, your dog’s favorite season. Hence why we thought this would be a good time to teach your dog table manners the easy way! I mean, we wouldn’t want a rendition of last year when Rufus nearly broke Grandma’s hip while making the 50-yard leap for the turkey dinner you just put on the beautifully set table, right? Maybe this has never happened to you (something to add to your grateful list), but let’s make sure it never does with these easy tips!
To teach your dog table manners, bring on your leadership skills! These include patience, good vibes, confidence, and consistency! When we lose our patience and yell at our dog we might as well have a neon sign on our forehead that flashes, “I’m not your leader!” Our dog senses our lack of control and thinks this means that actually, they are clearly the leader. If yelling has seemed to work in the past, they were more than likely just confused and scared of you. Neither of which leads to long-term improvement in their table manners. Therefore, it’s important to approach them as a calm but strong, confident but kind, and patient but consistent leader. This is also when our dog is most ready to please us. So, have some fun with it!
Proper table manners start with teaching effective commands like “leave it”.
1. Get your dog in a standard sit and stay position.
2. Take a mini training treat in your hand and relax your arm by your side.
3. When your dog starts to move toward your hand pull your hand up and, in a calm, but confident manner, say “No, leave it.”
5. (Enter patience).
6. Do this until your dog hesitates, even just a millisecond, and immediately reward him with the treat while you say “Good, leave it!” in an excited voice. By consistently repeating the command you are reinforcing it and associating it with a reward.
7. Repeat this process gradually, increasing the amount of time he hesitates each time before rewarding him.
Do this at least ten minutes, twice a day for a week or two. Then you can decrease it to once a day. This is likely to become your favorite command since you can use it in so many ways, besides just table manners. It can even save your dog’s life in some situations!
Lastly, the day your guests arrive carve out time for your pooch to exercise before-hand. They will be more likely to show off their new table manners when guests arrive if you take them on a new trail or include short sprints of jogging mixed in with the walk! We here at Dog Day, Every Day! can help make sure your dog is properly stimulated the days preceding the holiday with our fun doggie daycare services. Just call 513-860-DOGS (3647) or enroll here! Happy tails!