If training has become a chore, feels daunting, or you’re completely frustrated, please don’t throw in the towel just yet!
It’s a common occurrence to come to a few training sessions and feel a bit disappointed when you’re dog’s still not getting the basics the third week in.
It’s time to change your thinking about what it means to train your dog. Here are some tips to help keep you and your dog motivated and see improvement
Keep the sessions short
If your training sessions are more than 15 minutes at a time, you’re working for too long. For a puppy, reduce that time to 5 minutes (as all young things have a short attention span).
Repetition is key to training, but this doesn’t mean you have to repeat endlessly. Consistency is king. Instead of asking your dog to sit 100 times a session, try just 5-10 repetitions before your morning walk, when you get home from work, before she has her dinner. You’ll be amazed at how quickly she learns the new skill and how little time it’s taken out of your day.
Make the sessions fun (for you as well as your dog)
If you are not having fun, you can almost be certain your dog’s not either. Your dog isn’t going to want to train if you don’t and it wont be long before your training slides.
Has the task become frustrating? If so, break down the task into smaller portions and celebrate the little wins along the way. If there is a particularly successful attempt, finish the training on that win.
Has the repetition become boring? It’s time to bring out your creativity! Think of a way to make it fun. Try rapid fire commands or setting up an obstacle course around the house.
End each session with some play time. This will have the dog associate what you’ve just done with a positive experience (even if they had to do a bit of work to get there).It’s a great way to de-stress and they will remember more of what they have just learned.
Integrate training into every day activities
Making a couple of minor adjustments in your everyday activities that allows your dogs to learn with less effort from you.
Why not keep a jar of dried treats in your lounge room and use ad breaks as a training session?
Instead of feeding your dog in a bowl, why not use her dinner as a training exercise?
When someone comes to visit, see this as an opportunity to train rather as a reason to ditch it. You can work on socialisation with strangers; practice “on your bed” cue when someone knocks at the door and work on preventing jumping.
Need more motivation?
If you’ve really lost your way and training has become a real burden, it’s time to call in a qualified trainer. Classes can be a fun way to meet some other people and learn some new training techniques. A good trainer will understand the importance of the class having fun.
If you are after more specific advice, one-on-one training can be a great way to get back on track. Pawfect Earth offers one-on-one classes that include a personalised training plan to make training as easy and fun as possible.