In order to talk to you about how dog training works, I first need to talk about what doesn’t work with dogs.
Here’s the biggest mistake most every dog owner makes that doesn’t work with dogs. Not working your dog every day
Not working your dog every day just doesn’t work with dogs. Let me repeat that: Not working your dog every day just doesn’t work with dogs.”
It sets you and your dog up to fail. To be successful with “dog training that works” you should carefully consider the time commitment needed to reach your goals.
Look, you devote time and do training necessary to accomplish other things in your life. The same commitment needs to happen to help you and your dog succeed.
Depending on the dog, it can take anywhere from four to six weeks of consistent daily training for the novice dog owner to accomplish their goals. What this means is that when you consider calling in a professional trainer, clear your calendar. Be prepared to work and train your dog instead of watch reruns of Survivor on TV.
Also try to plan your training at a time you won’t be going on weekend trips or vacations. Remember, consistency and repetition works best for dogs – every day.
Heads Up: Here’s the next biggest mistake most dog owners make. This is important so take careful notes.
Not providing daily distractions for your dog
If you go to the trouble to teach your dog to sit to greet instead of jump or to go to his dog bed when he hears the doorbell (and not bark), you would want your dog to have these commands as permanent behaviors – not offered selectively when it suits him. You need to count on him to do what you say, when you say it.
If you want your dog to unfailingly sit to greet all visitors, then you need distractions – friends, neighbors, relatives to help you train your dog. Otherwise, you may wind up with a dog that will not jump on you but all bets are off if your parents come over to visit! You might be thinking, “Oops! Sorry Mom. Darn! Thought he was trained!”
I know it can be a real hassle, down right inconvenient or even embarrassing to keep calling friends, neighbors and relatives all the time to help you with your dog training.
But remember this: Without distraction training, you will fall short of your goals.
Just like you, your dog needs to practice, practice, practice and he depends on you to give him that practice.
It doesn’t have to be difficult
I see this “lack of using distractions” time and time again, as a natural stumbling block in the dog training process.
One of my clients came up with a brilliant idea that worked wonders with their dog. And I’m including it in this article as I know it will help you overcome this stumbling block. I use this a lot with clients and it works great – if you do it.
Train your dog every day during the week on your own around as many distractions that you can find.
Then on Friday or Saturday night, have a weekly party to include 5-6 of your friends, neighbors and/or relatives – for the sole purpose of obedience training your dog. It would go for 4-6 weeks – depending on your dog’s progress.
You furnish the beer and pizza and assign a different person to come over early each party night and be the host/hostess for the evening. That frees you up to do nothing but train your dog.
Here’s the cool part
Provide the guests with score cards (they put their name on them) to rate your dog’s progress for that week. Cards get turned into you at the end of each party and the same cards are given back out each week. The score gets tallied at the end of the 4-6 weeks for your dog’s final score.
This accomplishes a number of things:
1. It’s fun and takes the pressure off constantly calling people over because it is all pre-set.
2. It’s set up specifically to train your dog so everyone is set to help out.
3. It provides you further motivation to get your dog training done during the week so that you can see meaningful progress.
4. Your guests will appreciate your hard work to make their visits more enjoyable.
5. There are probably more benefits than this – you come up with your own.
6. There are no short-comings here — unless your dog eats your pizza.
Who knows, you could start a new fad!
There is no magic or silver bullet – no quick fix. It just takes time. If you can’t get people over every night and, like most people, you are limited to weekends for distractions, just extend your timeline on your dog training.
Remember, you have a lifetime with your dog to train your dog and fix the problems. BUT – that doesn’t mean it has to take that long!
These are dog training tips that work. So clear your calendar and commit to training your dog. You’ll be glad you did.
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“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8500+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step way to teach your dog how to be a great family member.