Your 5 Step Guide to Starting Dog Training on the Front Foot
So you know you need to train your dog. Whether you have a puppy or adult dog, follow this simple guide to ensure you’re in pole position to start your training.
1. Motivation- Do you know what motivates your dog? When was the last time your dog had a different treat that drove them wild? Or played with a new toy so exciting they couldn’t leave it alone? Know what motivates your dog before you start training and commit to using it. When your dog wants what you’ve got, they’ll approach training with an attitude of “What can I do for you?” and it’s with this attitude that we can achieve fantastic things. Once you know what your dog will sell their soul for, DON’T let them have free access to it- keep it just for training.Training a dog with their favourite motivator isn’t just great for the dog- it’s bound to motivate you as well as you get faster and more permanent results within a training process that’s a whole lot more fun.
2. What’s The Problem?
Do you know what problems you’d like to address? Could you list them off clearly and succinctly? Avoid trying to address only one issue when there are many- all the issues you have with your dog are important, probably related and need attention. Enjoy the positive flow on effects from addressing and working on multiple issues at once! Involve all members of the family and write a list of problem behaviours today.3. Goal or Dream?
The difference between a goal and a dream is simply a plan. If you want to improve your dog’s behaviour, you need a plan! Your training plan should include a time frame to assess improvements- we recommend 2 weeks for simple issues like jumping up or mouthing and 4 weeks for more complex issues involving anxiety or aggression. Who is going to help you implement your plan? While there are elements you can achieve on your own, skilled, professional trainers can shorten your training process, ensure it’s less stressful for you and your dog and make sure everyone is accountable!
4. Lead and Collar- Hindrance or Help? The majority of dogs we see LOVE their walking equipment. They become excited, overly aroused and lose all self control- before you’ve even clipped the lead on. They carry this excitement, arousal, frustration and poor self control with them as they walk out the front door. If you have any problem with your dog that occurs on a walk OR if you want to use the aid of a lead to settle your dog at home, the answer is simple. Put your dog’s lead on and off during the day without going for a walk. Move the lead around the house rather than hiding it in a draw or cupboard- the more repetitions the better. Break extreme lead associations so that your dog’s brain hasn’t gone into overdrive before you even start your training session.
5. Commit to consistency- In dog training, there’s an old saying that “the only thing two dog trainers will agree on is what the third one’s doing wrong”. But number 5 in our guide is something EVERY dog trainer would agree on without exception- the need for consistency. If you and your family don’t commit to being consistent when interacting with your dog the only thing I can guarantee is that nothing will change. When one person pats the dog for jumping up and another ignores or corrects them, this lack of clarity confuses the dog. Some dogs react to confusion by withdrawing, becoming timid or anxious while others boldly and boisterously continue the behaviours they’ve come to enjoy. Commit to consistency- you won’t regret it!