Training session rules

26 May

I guess it’s pretty much up to you how you train your dog, but there are some hints and tricks that work pretty well that you might like to follow!

 

1. Keep it short.

Think you don’t have time to train your dog? What if i told you each session only really needs to last 5 to 10 minutes? Really, that’s as long as it needs to be!

2. Keep it fun. 

Only train if you are in a positive mood. If you are enjoying yourself, so will your dogs (and they will be much more likely to respond). I often take short breaks during the session (particularly with Max) to do something fun, like throw a ball a couple of times. If it’s nice out, i will always take them out into the garden after training for a few minutes play time.

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Max is great at fetch and this works well both during training and afterwards as a way of keeping things fun.

 

3. Stay positive. 

Reward them when they do something right, ignore it when they don’t. The opposite of reward, is no reward. NOT punishment.

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Ok, so there wasnt really a picture i could use for this one…so, ill show you a smile instead

 

 

4. Motivation. 

Why would your dog want to sit and wait patiently for no reason? They need some reward. This means choosing your reward very carefully, you need to use something of high value. If your dog is very food orientated (most are) then use food based treats (or some of the breakfast/dinner). Food treats need to be small, no bigger than a finger nail, something that they can gulp down quickly without getting distracted by it.  If your dog is toy orientated, use a toy (or several). If praise is enough, reward them with high pitched, singsong tones and lots of enthusiasm.

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Click, then reward

 

5. Timing is key. 

You probably all know by now that i highly recommend the use of a clicker. It is important that you can place a marker of exactly when your dog does what is asked. A clicker allows for this. For example, if you ask for a sit, you click as soon as your dogs bum is on the floor. They know exactly what they have done right, and then receive their reward for it just seconds later.

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Maya and Max know the clicker well. As soon as they hear it, they know a tasty treat is on its way to them.

 

6. Short commands.

Dogs generally only absorb the last syllable of every word you say. Therefore a short command works best. Whilst you might use “lay down”, really all your dog is hearing is “down” so why not stick with that.

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7. Vary the routine. 

If you carry out the same routine over and over again, the dog will learn this. Whilst that is very good, it doesn’t really mean that your dog is listening and obeying you, more that it knows what you expect. Do you hate your day job where you do the same thing day in day out? Yeah, that’s the way your dog feels about doing the same training session over and over and over. Its boring. Remember number 2? Keep it fun!

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8. Take your time. 

To begin with, your dog might only stay sitting in one place for a few seconds. It may only focus on training for a couple of minutes. If you want to increase the time, you need to take your time. Training is a slow and gradual process, and a life long commitment. Work on your basic obedience first before going onto “tricks”. A dog that can sit and wait can avoid potential danger, a dog that can spin in a circle, not so much.

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Maya is great at waving, but she is always practicing her basic obedience which needs improving still when on walks.

 

 

9. The environment. 

To begin with, you want to train somewhere with no distractions. This means no sounds, no toys, no other animals or people. Gradually switch things up. Eventually you should be able to get to the point where you can stop in the middle of the woods or along the beach and have a quick five minute training session during your walk.

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Before you can get a nice sit outside, you need to work on it indoors

 

10. Eye contact. 

By eye contact, i really mean focus. This isn’t a rule as such, but something i have come to appreciate. I can tell when my dogs want to please me, when they are enjoying their training and really focusing on me and what I say because they make eye contact with me.

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All of their focus is on me. It’s the same when i give them their food, they look at me, they wait until i say go, then they eat.

 

 

Happy training!

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Training session rules”

  1. The Daily Golden May 26, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    I bought a clicker for Tucker when he was still a puppy, but it is still in the package. I would love to try this method one day…great post and very cute students!

    • taylorr1991 May 26, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

      You should give it a go, you never know, it might end up speeding up the training process hehe. I find it really really useful, though i only use it during actual “training session”, i don’t have it on me all of the time. If you need any info or tips, let me know 🙂

      Thanks, they are very cute, and also, for the most part,very good students!

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