A letter of introduction
Dear fellow four-legged friend,
If you suffer the ignorance of a human who is constantly riding you, trying to get you to “behave”, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are millions of dogs out there in the world today who have humans that they think are “untrainable”. Your human might constantly berate you with commands such as “sit”, “stay”, “off the furniture”, and, “go lay down”; yet they never learn that it’s your command that they should be following!
In this guide I’m going to cover a few simple how-to’s for getting your human to behave more desirably. I’m also going to cover common language barriers and how to overcome them. It’s important to remember that the golden rule when training any human is that persistence pays off – humans learn by repetition.
– Bella Lambchop
How to Train Your Human: A Guide for Dogs
How to guide your human on a leash
If you weigh less than 10 lbs: unfortunately your human has the upper hand. However, I recommend putting all your weight down and sitting if they become too much of a hassle to manage. This is also a good way to get your owner to carry you the rest of the journey if you are tired. 😀
If you weigh between 10 lbs and 60 lbs: Your human still has a bit of an upper hand in this situation. My suggestion is to try a variety of tactics. You can try sitting and putting all of your weight down, you can try to pull your human in the direction that you choose, or you can just stand there and do nothing until they come to be by your side, at which point, they will most likely lavish you with attention, creating a win-lose situation in your favor!
If you weigh 60 lbs or more: You are the master of the leash. It is recommended that you put all your strength into pulling your human by the leash. The leash is there for you to lead them, and with your superior size and strength, your human will have little recourse but to follow you!
Teaching your human how the game of “fetch” works
Firstly and most importantly, let your human get excited about throwing the ball for you.
Your human will flail about with various pointing and throwing motions; let them, as this will help them feel like they are in control.
They may even say something like, “You want it? You want it?” – at this point you should wag your tail and show them how happy you are that they are excited.
When your human throws the ball it is best if you casually ignore it, and let them walk over to pick it up so they can throw it for you again. Afterall, aren’t they always talking about how they need to exercise or go to the gym or some other such nonsense? As an added bonus for you, the more they get used to walking, the longer your walks will be. 😀
How to teach your human to refill your water dish on command
If your dish should ever get low or heaven forbid, empty, there are a few tactics that you can utilize to ensure that your human refills it to your satisfaction.
- Scratch at the dish. Even the dullest of human minds can comprehend this obvious signal that your dish is in need of a refill.
- Pick up the dish and bring it to them (if you are big enough to do so). This tactic is a little more obvious, but only available to larger breeds. The dish should be dropped immediately at your human’s feet and not touched again; after all, it’s not your job to ensure your water dish is full, and you’ve already done enough.
- Fetch your human’s shoe and put it in the dish. This last technique is mainly used to show extreme displeasure in your human’s inability to keep your water dish adequately filled.
How to ensure that your human remembers exactly when you wish to be fed
Your human can be trained to feed you at the same time every day. It might take a little work, but the golden rule is that persistence pays – humans learn by repetition.
For starters, I recommend sitting or pacing near the place where your human stores your food, whilst whining, barking, and making as much of a racket as possible to get their attention.
When they ask questions such as, “Are you hungry?” or, “Do you want breakfast/lunch/dinner/supper?”, show them that you are ready for them to provide your meal service by becoming uncontrollably excited to the point of being annoying; jumping up, snorting, whining, scratching, and dancing are all good techniques. – remember, you are trying to train your human to feed you on time every day, and you may need to stoop to these levels in order to do so. Just remember, your human will catch on – you won’t have to do this forever!
I’ve found that humans aren’t very clever. In order for them to meet our needs and expectations, it’s up to us to clearly communicate what those needs and expectations are.
Teaching your human to give belly rubs on command
When your human approaches you, you should always roll over and expose your belly.
Exposing your belly tricks your human into thinking that they are dominant, when in actuality they are falling for your rather simple ruse. Upon seeing your exposed belly, your human will almost instinctively (if humans had instincts) want to rub and pat your belly!
How to train your human to give you a treat
You must first master the art of “puppy dog eyes”. No human can resist their power.
Practice this look daily, for as long as you can muster. You can give “puppy dog eyes” from any position, whether lying down, sitting, or standing. However, for this technique to have maximum effect, you must be positioned directly in front of your human, clearly visible, or sitting in the lap.
Failing to achieve the desired effect of having your human ask if you would like a treat (sometimes they can be slow learners), you should sit near where your human keeps the treats and or “people food” (the good stuff), and begin to whimper incessantly. When your human eventually tires of hearing you and comes to investigate, give them the “puppy dog eyes”. The dullard will then probably ask you if you would like a treat. SUCCESS!
How to train your human not to leave you at home alone
Most humans have the annoying tendency to want to leave us at home while they go off and do fun things. Why in the world would they want to go on car rides and go to the park without us?
To prevent being left at home while your human is off having all the fun, position yourself near the front door as if you’re wanting to say goodbye before they leave.
Immediately when your human opens the door, you should rush out ahead of them, preferably down a set of stairs if available, or out to the end of the driveway or to the car.
Your human might try to corral you back into the house but don’t stand for it; if they get too close, simply run away, and eventually they will give in, and take you along for the ride!
Common language barriers and what words really mean
You’ve probably heard your human say the word “no” fairly often. If you hear this it generally means that they don’t want you to do something. However, I always find that if I ignore my human’s pleas of “no” I don’t really get into much trouble. The follow-up phrase, “bad dog” might be thrown around, but humans really do have poor memories. They’ll often instantly forget all about your “bad” behavior if you give them the “puppy dog eyes” and roll over for a belly scratch. (Again, you should be practicing the “puppy dog eyes” technique daily.)
Key takeaway: “No” can be ignored with tactical use of “puppy dog eyes” and exposing the belly, so have fun and do what you want regardless of the word “no”.
When a human says “yes” or, “good dog”, it means that you’ve managed to do something that they want. This should generally be avoided as much as possible. Humans exist for one purpose, which is to serve our every whim, not the other way around. However, if it happens that you get an occasional “yes” or, “good dog”, don’t beat yourself up over it. An occasional slip up works in your favor and allows them to maintain the delusion that they are the master.
Key takeaway: “Yes” means “Yes”, but do you best to avoid hearing this.
When your human says “down” it means one of two things:
- Either they want you to lie down, or,
- They want you to get off the furniture.
If you are currently on the furniture, you should immediately lay down, get comfortable, and ignore any additional insistent pleas of “get down”. If you are not currently on the furniture then you don’t have to do anything. If you are not on the furniture then why do you need to get down?
Key takeaway: You need only lie down if that’s what you want to do.
If, while outside walking, your human says “come”, “heel”, or “here”, it means they see something that they don’t want you to see. Upon hearing any of these words, you should immediately scan your surroundings to see if there is either food on the ground or somewhere you should run to check out. Things of particular interest might be a muddy creek or pond, goose poop (a delicacy for many dogs), other canine companions, etc.
Key takeaway: Seek out what they don’t want you to find and go get it.
If you hear the word “sit” and you do not see or smell a treat, then your human is trying to be clever and trick you into doing what they want. If there is no treat to be had, you must never obey the “sit” command; simply ignore it instead.
Key takeaway: Obey the “sit” command only when your human has a treat in hand.
If your human says “Do you want a treat?” it means that your human wants you to act surprised, gracious, and jump around like a circus animal. Poor humans, the ignorant darlings, for whatever reason don’t understand that the answer to this question will always be yes, and that they should just hand out treats without making us put on an act. If your human has a treat in hand and insists that you do something other than sit for it, just sit there patiently wait for them to give it to you. Chances are they won’t put the treat back; humans are extremely lazy and deep down, they only want to please us. Patience is key here. Let them catch on.
Key takeaway: Put forth as little energy and excitement as necessary to secure the treat. Eventually your human will come to expect less out of you and give you treats anyway!
If your human says, “give me puppy kisses”, it means that you need to immediately lick your butt (in secret if possible), and then give them a lick on the face. Preferably on the lips.
Key takeaway: Humans are filthy creatures. They really have no idea where our mouths have been all day, nor do they care. They would probably kiss a toilet bowl rim if it knew how to give “puppy dog eyes”. So go ahead, clean your butt/genitals/feet/etc., and then use your human’s face to get the taste off your tongue. After all, they're asking for it!
Humans are slow, simple minded creatures with soft hearts and weak wills. As dogs, it is our duty to exploit these weaknesses to our advantage as our ancestors have done for thousands of years.
The human-canine relationship is a symbiotic one that works because of our ruthless cunning and ability to deploy such tactics as the “puppy dog eyes”, “exposing the belly”, the “front door dash”, the “sit and ignore” and others described in this guide.
Master these techniques and an easy-going life filled with treats, toys, sofa lounging and car rides is yours, fellow canine!
Well, that was something wasn’t it? That Bella Lambchop, she’s a real kidder. But seriously, I’m beginning to think these dogs are onto something…
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