It’s National Train Your Dog Month! We know how important it is to create a safe and happy life for your dog and your family, so we’re sharing our favorite tips and tricks to help you effectively train your furry friend. Continue reading for tips to maximize your dog’s learning potential and strengthen the bond you share, while enjoying the training process.
Rewarding good behavior from your dog can be a great tool in making that behavior a pattern. Dogs repeat behaviors that are rewarding. Whether that reward is a treat, play time, pets or praise, returning good behavior with something your dog enjoys will encourage them to repeat that action. Just like anything else, positive reinforcement requires practice and patience. Select one reward, be consistent and refrain from leaving too much time between their success and reward. Take into account any environmental distractions, the time between each reward and the level of enjoyment your dog receives from their reward.
Being consistent in your dog’s training process is crucial for creating a clear line of communication. When a dog is able to distinguish good from bad based on consistent verbal and physical cues, they are able to respond, learn and make specific behaviors routine. Regularly confirming or denying behaviors with the same reward or lack thereof, helps dogs to understand expectations without stress or confusion. When a dog knows what is expected of them in their daily life, they are able to relax. Being consistent in our expectations and rewards is a great way to create a stress free environment for our pups.
Dogs don’t have the same attention span we do, so keep your training sessions short and to the point to limit frustration. We recommend keeping your lessons around 15 minutes, giving ample time for repetitions of the desired behavior! In the beginning, stick to one skill and try for a few successful repetitions before switching to another to keep your pup interested. If you find your dog struggling, take a step back and decrease the difficulty. Ending on a positive note is always good for keeping both you and your dog encouraged, even if it means practicing an old or easy trick. So take your time, be patient and most importantly, have fun!
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