WHO doesn’t love dogs? Known for their innate ability to quickly form a long-lasting bond with their owners, they are easily one’s best bet when it comes to having pets.

Last month, pet owners and curious mallgoers alike were treated to a day of fun and canine fellowship during a Summer Dog Fair held at SM City Cebu. Special guest Jojo Isorena, who is known to be the country’s own “dog whisperer” (a moniker based on the popular TV show featuring Mexican-American self-taught dog trainer, Cesar Millan), was in town to share a few tips and techniques for dog owners. Here are a few things owners need to be reminded about.

The power to choose.

Dogs must learn that they have the “power to choose.” They can choose what they want to do or they can choose what the owner tells them to do. And if they choose what the owner tells them to do, they get rewarded for it. This way, the owners are able to encourage the behaviors or the choices that they like and discourage the choices that they don’t like.

Dogs need to learn how to relax.

Dogs need to know that life is not always about playing, and there has to be time when they’re told to stay put in one place and just relax.

The art of self-control.

Dogs need to be taught to mind their own business and to leave things that do not concern them. Train them. In line with this, dogs also need to learn how to spit something out of their mouth.

Train dogs how to walk nicely.

Owners need to train their pets how to walk properly and nicely. Dogs should keep track of their owners and not the other way around. The dog should not pull the owner.

Learn how to read the eyes.

The dog is the only animal that will look his owner in the eyes. That’s how a dog asks for permission if he wants something, wants to do something, or wants to go somewhere. The owner must be sensitive to his pet’s needs.

The dog must be taught to accept the presence of the other dog.

Just because. It happens. A lot.

Care about possible stress.

Isorena added that separation anxiety is one of the leading causes of dog behavior problems in the United States. One common situation is when the owner gives a dog so much attention, and then the following day he’ll have to leave for work. Another common cause is separating a dog from its family. How to deal with it? Allow the dog to settle into a routine. Teach the dog that it’s okay to be alone. An owner can teach them to stay while he leaves the room for seconds and then come back. The owner can also introduce signals like every time he leaves, he turns off the lights and when he comes home, he switches the lights back on.

“The number one rule of training your dog is before you ask a dog a question you must give him the ‘answer,’ and you must make sure that the dog understands what the ‘answer’ is,” Isorena said. (with Jasmin Marie P. Ylaya, USJ-R Masscom Intern)