TRUE STORY: Training my dog is the best personal development I've ever had.
Having two dogs of different ages, sizes, and temperaments, led us to hiring a dog trainer recently. We wanted to include our pups in more of our life activities but it's important to have well mannered pets. After all, not everyone is a dog person....bless em'!
In the process, I'm getting more training than the dogs! Dogs have the best character. Working to understand them better will allow you to help them get along more happily and safely in the human world. If you find a really good dog trainer, you are likely to find an even better YOU.
Here are a few tips to help you get the most of out of your training sessions:
#1 - Keep It Frustration-Free!
If you're working on a new command and you find that you or your dog are feeling frustrated, STOP. Your dog can sense your frustration and will react to it, not the new command. Take a break and work on something your dog confidently knows while you reassess the reasons you and your dog aren't connecting on the new task. Training should be fun for both you and your dog. If it's not, it's time to reset and revise.
#2 - Keep 'Em Hungry!
Train your dog near feeding time. You'll keep their attention longer and it will also help YOU remember to train. Feeding time gives you the perfect opportunity with a captive dog audience to reinforce good behavior, establish trust, and bond with your pup. In addition to training before eating, we suggest giving your pup a bit of CBD oil beforehand to help them feel more relaxed, at ease, and receptive to the training session.
#3 - Keep It Consistent!
Your dog won't learn without consistent, repetitive lessons. You have to train daily. There's no way around it. Even after your dog is obedience trained, you should still be training him daily. An occupied, stimulated dog is a happy, non-destructive or reactive dog. So go ahead and reinforce the lessons he already knows, teach him some new tricks, or introduce her to new environments. Consistently teach your dog anything you can think of. You and your dog will appreciate it!
My personal takeaway from the training experience was very eye-opening and life changing. Animal personalities are as varied as people and I was amazed at how so many of my beliefs about dog behavior were inaccurate at best, and counterproductive at the worst. You are a pack leader. As such you must behave like a leader. For your pack, treats and engagement go farther than you can imagine.
Consistency is important because your dog may learn a behavior or trick quickly, but since they have a will and ideas of their own, you must practice regularly to instill this behavior. How many times did your mother tell you to make the bed and stand up straight? Do you still do that? Enough said. Stick with the training and eventually you will be a fun and effective team.
One last tip. Your dog may not be food/treat motivated. What the heck then?? They are motivated by something. It could be something as simple as praise (I so wish my girl dogs were). But it might be a toy, a ball, who knows. My Schnauzer is motivated by....he big sister! It's maddening. But we never gave up and they are both trustworthy off leash in almost any situation. In fact, they both behave better off leash than on. Go figure.
Don't put a time limit on it. Never stop training. Now I realize how important these lessons are for my life. And....I stand up straight, mom!