Dogs can find value in everything that they come across each day. We may walk past a stop sign and not even give it a...Continue...
Catching your dogs doing something great is important and rewarding them for it will set them up to repeat that behavior. This is easier If the rewards are of high value to your dog.
Positive reinforcement training should be the first line of teaching, training and behavior change program considered, and be applied consistently.
Each time that I plan to train my dogs, I make sure to set up the area where I am going to train before I begin. If I’m using cones, or a jump or any other piece of equipment I always have them in place or nearby. The same goes for the rewards/treats that I am using. There is nothing that can slow down training more than being unprepared.
I will always have rewards somewhere close like in my pocket or in a small sandwich bag. This is helpful so I can reward my dog for doing something great like offering eye contact or a sit without me asking. This surprise payment will go a long way in your dogs learning since it was not a scheduled training session. If you train your dog the same time and the same room each day your dog may figure out the routine/pattern of the behaviors and start chaining them together. At some point you move around to different areas of your home.
Being prepared also means when you decide to move the training outside, your dog may have some trouble concentrating on simple behaviors. This is because, in part to the environment change. It could be as simple as the fresh air blowing in your dogs’ face or the rabbit bouncing away across your backyard! The value of the rabbit running is usually going to be higher than a piece of cheese or biscuit that you may be using to get your dogs attention. Try to step up the level of rewards you are using when training outside. Make it hard for your dog to look away when you call his/her name!
One final word on being prepared is when you are out on a walk with your dog. There should be a plan in place for when you get caught off guard by an approaching stranger, loose dog or a number of other distractions that will charge up your dog in a quick few seconds. When a dog is in a high level of stress it is easier to manage(walk away from trouble) the situation, since training will be very difficult at that particular moment. The frustration level of dog parents can be overwhelming when put in a situation that has not been practiced when training. I like to slowly add distractions while training since they happen each day in our lives.
Once you have learned how to be ready to handle any situation, you will find being prepared is on the top of the list of a good training plan.