How not to fail at obedience training
Obedience training is a challenge for many pet parents. When a dog does not learn basic commands, such as ‘leave it’, ‘stay’, ‘sit’ and ‘come’, parents get frustrated and give up. When this happens, parents let their furkid get away with other bad behaviours too, like leash pulling, food guarding and jumping on and off of furniture. So, today we share some dog training secrets that will help you get some of this (and your) behaviour under control.
The first thing pet parents need to realise is that there is a good chance that they are the problem. If you are inconsistent, get frustrated, use bad training techniques and have little patience, your dog will not learn anything from you. Secondly, if you have a high energy dog, lack of proper exercise will cause havoc in his mind and he will not be able to focus.
Obedience training tips
It is unfair to ask a high energy dog to focus
Before starting a training session take your dog for a walk or a run. When your dog has let out all his built-up energy he will be in a better mind space to learn.
Don’t show your dog too many commands in one session. Start small and praise or treat every success (this will change later on).
Mark correct behaviour
Pet parents find marking difficult, but it does not have to be. As soon as your dog does something right, say ‘yes’ (‘yes’ is a good choice because it’s the opposite of ‘no’) and give a treat and praise (for example ‘good boy’). When you say ‘no’, say it calmly (don’t shout) and withhold the treat. Your dog will quickly learn that ‘yes’ means he did it right! This will help you if you choose to do more advanced training in the future.
If you show your dog a command one way, stick to it until he gets it right. If your dog fails at performing a command one way, and he fails again when you show him the same command a different way, you have set your dog up to fail to learn two commands. Can you see how the human fails most of the time? Remember, if your dog fails, he has just not learnt the command yet. If you calmly guide him to get it right as many times at it takes, and he gets it, he will have one under the paw. Give the treat as soon as the command is performed successfully and add some praise. Then, try it again. Only mark and give the treat and praise when the command is performed successfully. Remember to say ‘no’ when he does not perform the command correctly.
Note: Some trainers do not encourage giving treats for too long or talking too much (saying both ‘yes’ and ‘good girl’). However, every dog and human connection is different and you as the handler will quickly discover what works for you and your pup!
Be calm and enjoy the process
Yes, we know it can be frustrating when your dog does not learn a command. However, if you become frustrated and give up, your dog will never learn. Try to enjoy the process and celebrate successes. If it takes a year to get something right, then it takes a year.
Obedience training is important for many reasons, for example, if you have an elderly person or a baby in the home that could accidently be injured if your dog jumps on them or pushes them over. However, training is also an important step toward a successful and happy relationship between you and your dog. Enjoy it!