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5 ways to up your dog training game to get the results you want

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

We all lead busy lives and it’s so frustrating when you put time into something and get very little back. I know you love your dog, but why does he not come when he is called no matter how much you train him. Like all things, there are secrets to the dog training game. Here are 5 ways to optimize the time you spend training your dog by using what I call the stump method. So are you ready to stump you dog and get him to do what you want? Here are the secrets:

START: The way you start the process is essential to getting the right results. Burn off pent up energy in your dog before you start. She’ll focus better if she’s not bouncing off the walls. If your dog can’t focus on you, she’s not learning anything and you’re wasting your time. Let your dog run, have a sniffy walk or play fetch prior to training but not for so long she’s too tired to learn. Every dog is different so get to know your dog but anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes will be enough for most dogs. Watch her body language and look for “now what” cues. These might include looking up at you for guidance or unfocused wandering. This is the optimal time to start giving her tasks.

TIME: Keep training sessions short. Did you know that for people the best way to study is to concentrate for 20 minutes then to take a break? This is because our minds start to wander after about twenty minutes and so will your dog’s – sometimes even sooner. Training sessions should last no more than 15 minutes. And for young puppies and dogs that are easily distracted, an even shorter training session is needed. A longer training session will only lead to distraction, boredom and your dog making mistakes. This will result in frustration for both you and your dog.

UPBEAT: Keep things positive. Always end your training sessions on a high note. If your dog got one aspect of his training down and pulled off a few perfect repetitions in a row, end it there. That way he remembers how to do it well and will continue to do it well. As I said before , if you train too long mistakes start to happen and you don’t want the dog to remember what you’re trying to teach him including the mistakes.

MOTIVATION: Find what motivates your dog. Positive reinforcement doesn’t have to be treats. Some dogs just aren’t food driven. Work with your dog to find out what he finds rewarding. Maybe it’s praise and affection from you or maybe he has a favorite toy and a minute of play works for him. If your dog is food driven he’ll be more motivated during a training session if he hasn’t just eaten. He’s more likely to work for food if he’s hungry.

PRACTICE: Practice. Practice. Practice. We’ve always heard practice makes perfect. Well, maybe not perfect but it sure will make whatever you are trying to enforce better. Dogs live in the moment but if a command becomes automatic to them they’ll do it every time. It took me 3 different training methods to get my dog to heal but we practiced it and practiced it now the goofball heals while I’m on the treadmill without being told. A dog is not likely to remember something you taught her a month ago if it’s not practiced. In fact, chances are she’ll forget all together. You know how your dog just seems to know it’s dinner time. It’s not because she knows how to tell time. It’s because it happens every day around the same time so it’s ingrained in her. It’s automatic. The same can happen with consistent training.

Training your dog shouldn’t be time consuming and frustrating. By keeping these 5 tips in mind you can optimize your training results with less time wasted and have more fun with your dog. After all isn’t that what having a dog is all about - enjoying time with them? If you’re looking to up your training game even more and it’s hard to find the time to put in, let me do the teaching, so all you have to do is practice during everyday life. I can lay the foundation and get you both off to a great start.

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