• Lorraine - Waggie Tails

6 Top Tips for training your dog and puppy towards success.

Dog Walking in Dunstable with Waggie Tails
Dunstable Downs Dog Walk

Do you feel that sometimes you are fighting a losing battle when training your dog even the basics? Or maybe after spending so much time working on a new skill and you think you have nailed it, that your dog seems to have given up and forgotten everything you taught them?

Just like humans, dogs have off days too and the more pressure you put on yourself to be perfect just makes it even harder. Don’t set your expectations so high only to feel like you’ve let yourself down. It doesn’t work like that. You must be kinder to yourself.

TOP TIP 1: Don’t set your expectations too high and always be kind to yourself and your dog.

So, how can you make a difference to your dogs behaviour to make it a lot more enjoyable?

Whether your teaching your dog recall, loose lead walking or even the basic cues from a very young age like sit, wait, down, look, always ensure you can commit to it.

To teach ourselves new experiences and skills we need to commit to it. Doing it when we feel like it isn’t going to offer the same impact. If we’re starting a new job or maybe something more personal like wanting to loose weight or even train for a marathon, we don’t just wake up in the morning and start. If we know what’s to come we can be mentally prepared for it which takes a lot of pressure and stress away when we do start.

If I’m not fully focussed or committed I know I would instantly not want to do it nor would I be in a positive frame of mind. Setting myself targets and knowing when to start I can build my confidence and educate myself to understand more of what I can achieve.

TOP TIP 2: Be prepared, committed and realistic with the task ahead.

Dog’s are highly contagious to distraction! The best way to start any dog training is to keep within a low distraction environment like in your home or garden. Recall training or lose lead walking is perfect to begin in these environments.

If you’ve read my blog about LETTING YOUR DOG SNIFF, you’ll know that even the most popular of areas you visit are full of smells and scents that your dog will instantly pick up. Could you imagine the number of distractions if you take them somewhere new? You’re dog will most certainly find them a lot more interesting especially if you take them to the local park where children are playing and other dogs are in the area.

They may lose focus and become frustrated and with the loss of focus from your dog this means more frustrating for you for not being able to get your dog fully engaged with you.

Don’t stop your normal walks and if you can still try to reinforce the behaviour of your walking to the park for instance you could still get your dog to focus on you when walking. Every little helps.

TOP TIP 3: Start easy in a low distraction environment. Carry on your normal walks to

When you take your dog or puppy to training classes, these sessions are usually 45 mins to 1 hour long. Within this short space of time probably 30-40 mins is actual training time.

Training with your dog is super fun and interactive and you’ll both reap the rewards. Don’t plan your training session for longer than it has to be. Start off with say 10 mins and then maybe extend it to 20 mins. Believe me, your dog will love it and will want to impress you.

Training your dog to do what you want them to do rather than what they shouldn’t be doing is the objective. Ensure you know exactly what you want them to do and use that time for them to learn.

TOP TIP 4:- Keep sessions simple and to a maximum time scale to ensure you are training your dog to do what you want them to do.

When we go to work, at the end of the day, week or month we get paid. We have to put the hours in before we see our wages on pay day.

Your dog has to work for their reward too. The process of encouraging or establishing a pattern of behaviour by offering reward when the behaviour is exhibited is called Positive Reinforcement and this should always be used when your dog is training. Keep your high value rewards separate from their normal feed routines, these are rewards not part of their daily meal.

There is a whole new topic of classical conditioning vs operent conditioning but we will stick to the basics for now.

TOP TIP 5: Always use positive reinforcement when training your dog. Don’t expect your dog to work for nothing. We wouldn’t.

So now the journey of training your dog is getting easier from working at home or in a low distraction area.

Now it’s time to go somewhere more exciting! Before you do though, remember it may not be the same as to what you have achieved at home but you still need to test the water!

Before you leave the house remember to pack your equipment - clicker (if you’re using one), poo bags, long line and of course those high value rewards which should have now been established.

TOP TIP 6: Take your dog somewhere new but quiet to test your new training skills. Be prepared for the distractions !

Finally, just because your dog did it perfectly one day doesn't mean they will remember the next. It can help to start each training session at the level below, to avoid frustration.

Above all, enjoy yourself! Training is fun, and if you love it, your dog will too!

If you need help and assistance with training the basics with you and your dog or puppy, I'm more than happy to assist! I absolutely love working with owners who feel they need a little help and assistance. Do contact me to discuss your next steps - lorraine.waggietails@gmail.com / 07958744196

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