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BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS — How did your dog do?

Although I have been enjoying the 70 plus degree weather today, it was only a few days ago when the weather in our area reached the low teens and in some cases single digit temperatures. When the mercury drops this low, dogs can easily get hypothermia and even freeze to death if they aren’t kept out of the elements. Our southern dogs that aren’t used to cold weather do not grow the thick winter coats like their neighbors to the north so they are extra susceptible. During this weeklong winter storm, local news channels and social media platforms made sure that everyone who had a pet was encouraged to bring them indoors.
If you were like the rest of us who followed this advice, my question for you is simple.  How did your dog do?  Were you pleased with his or her obedience? Would you say that having your dog indoors for an extended period of time was a blessing or a curse?  If things worked out great then give thanks to The Lord.  If they didn’t, here are a few tips to help them do better next time.
First, I would encourage you to have consistent daily playtime with your dog even if it never comes inside of the house. The more time you spend giving your dog attention, the stronger the bond will grow between the two of you which will likely increase your dogs desire to please.
In addition to playtime, an every other day training regimen will do wonders. Take note of what your dog did poorly during the storm and work on those issues.  As a professional dog trainer, I would tell you to make sure the basic obedience commands of heel, sit, stay, and come are rock solid. An obedient dog is a pleasure to be around and will cause a lot less tension in close quarters that one that is out of control.
When spending time training or playing with your dog, remember that dogs work great when using Pavlov’s theory of conditioning. It really works (you may need to study this theory a bit). To sum up this theory in as few of words as possible I would tell you that whatever behavior gets rewarded gets repeated and whatever behavior gets punished or discouraged is lessened.
When spending time with your dog always be patient and kind.  You can never make your dog great in one day, but you can break his spirit in one. Stay consistent and keep your eye on the prize, which is a well-behaved companion that will not only mind, but offer unconditional love at the end of a rough day.

If you have any training questions or would like to send your dog to the professionals instead of doing it yourself, simply give us a call at DuckDogTrainer.com and we will be glad to help.
May God bless you my friends and as far as the weather goes… if you don’t like it, stick around because it is bound to change!

Brian Johnson is pastor of First Baptist Church of Winnie, owner of DuckDogTrainer.com and writes about outdoors for Port Arthur Newsmedia.