Success in Dog Training – How to Achieve it.
In this Holidays4Dogs training article, we will discuss some hints and tips for embarking on a dog training programme with the family pooch.
When training your dog, or puppy, it is crucial to maintain consistency. Keep up repetition and try to get your timing absolutely right. However, the best advice is to always try and set your dog up for success. By doing this, he learns faster and, together, you will make successful progress.
If you are pretty sure that your dog is not going to do something you have requested; then don’t ask it. If, for example, your dog has not mastered a good recall in a quiet environment at home, he is unlikely to come back in a busy environment.
This is setting the dog up to fail. Sadly, it is often the reason why many owners become frustrated, or even give up. By not understanding the importance of baby steps in dog training, there is the real possibility the relationship between owner and dog, is gradually eroded.
Start simple and build up.
Think of dog training like building bricks. Start by putting together just two, then a few more; building on the foundations you started with. Training in this way is the same for puppies or, adult dogs -(rescue dogs, for example).
By gradually working in this way, you can build ever more complicated patterns. Just like children, dogs learn in stages. They also always learn things better to begin with, without distractions going on around them.
For example, even when you have taught your dog to perform a lovely sit stay in the quiet of your living room, this does not mean he will perform this at a busy park, or at the vets, the following day.
When you first start to train your dog, you need to begin in a quiet place where there are no other distractions. Gradually, build distractions into subsequent training sessions, repeating what he has learnt, but slowly increasing distractions.
What does it mean to set your dog up for success?
This simply means making it easier for the dog to understand what you mean. It very often means managing the environment and making it harder for him do the ‘wrong’ thing. For example, if your dog chases squirrels, don’t try and teach him to come back to you in the presence of squirrels.
Aim for tiny steps. When teaching your dog a new behaviour set up your surroundings so that he has less chance to fail. (e.g. become distracted, engage in behaviour other than that which you are asking for).
Manage situations carefully BEFORE he has chance to fail. For example, don’t ask him to come back while he is playing with other dogs, if he has not had chance to learn recall with fewer distractions.
Add distractions to your training routine GRADUALLY . Don’t let him fail by asking him to do something you know he does not understand.
Make sure his rewards are always highly desirable. High value treats such as cooked chicken, or liver, will encourage your dog to focus.
Join a good dog training class for help and support.
Success in dog training depends on several factors, but being calm and consistent is key. Dogs are pretty clever and they are all capable of learning quite complex skills. However, they need us to communicate to them in a meaningful way.
Always train your dog with positive reinforcement and never punishment. Avoid demanding too much of your dog before he is ready. Teaching your dog new skills should be an enjoyable experience for both you and your dog, so always stop if you feel frustrated – or your dog seems confused. Keep training sessions short and fun and soon you will find your four-legged pal is turning into a very clever fellow.