mixed messages

golden retriever puppy |  obedience class

Imagine how hard it would be to follow the rules if the signs kept changing. If one day a stop sign meant “Stop,” and the next day it meant, “Go,” you’d be pretty confused about what to do. The same goes for your pets! If one day your dog is allowed to lay on the couch, but the next day he is scolded for it, he stands no chance of getting it right — and you’ll be disappointed with his behavior every time.


In training, consistency is key for dogs and cats (yes, cats can be trained!). This means every day, every time. If your dog is allowed to jump on you when you get home from work, it stands to reason (in his mind) that he should also be allowed to greet visitors or passersby with a full body hug as well.


Consistency in training also means communicating the same messages in the same way to your pet. For example, the word “down” could mean “lay down” or it could mean “stop jumping up.” Your dog doesn’t understand that they mean the same thing — so you have to settle on concrete commands.


If your whole family can’t attend obedience classes, have follow-up sessions at home to ensure everyone is on the same page. That way, your pet will experience the same methods and commands, no matter who is using them. Decide as a family what the rules will be, and then stick to them. With a little consistency, your four-legged family member will be set up for success.