When you attend an obedience training class, most, if not all, trainers will tell you that you must practice frequently with your dog. Some will even get specific and tell you that you need to practice at least 10 times a day for a period of 2 to 5 minutes each time (and this is very good advice).
However this is where the problem comes in and things start to fall apart for the owner. Basic training, sit/down/stand/stay/etc, is pretty boring stuff…boring for you and for the dog. These are the kinds of things that make it difficult for dog parents to follow through with work at home and therefore lead to less desirable results from the training class.
What if I told you, however, that your at-home sessions need not be so boring? Not only don’t they have to be, but they shouldn’t be. If you and the dog are not having fun, learning is not happening. So why not make it fun? There are many games and activities that can teach and reinforce teaching to give you solid reproducible, predictable results with your dog.
Working on recall? How about playing hide and seek with your dog? When you make a game of it, your dog LOVES to hunt you down to find you (especially if you are out of sight or move quickly away from him). You can even go so far as to teach your dog YOUR names and use this and recall to have him deliver messages attached to his collar to the other humans in the house.
Teaching stay with distractions? Once he has the idea, the old Monkey in the middle is excellent for stay and self-control (just make sure he gets the ball every once in a while so he can have fun too).
How about loose leash walking (LLW)? Make a maze with chairs and other household objects and have your dog follow you through the maze. If you can teach him to stay by your side without a leash and add distractions to that, Lose Leash Walking is almost a given.
Also, never be comfortable that your dog has learned it all. Every and any skill can always be taken to the next level, be made harder and practiced while having fun. Adding distractions, combining skills, and placing the skill in a new situation will all present a challenge for your dog. For example, if you have taught your dog to sit, can they do it with the kids running around? Can they do it at the dog park? Can they do it at a distance? Can they do it while they are in motion on their way to you?
There are many games you can play or make up to have fun teaching your dog even the basics of self-control, position changes, and just about anything you want. Use the Net to search training games, make them up yourself, or find a trainer that uses these methods and can help you. The important thing is that you are having fun with your dog. While you are doing so, you will also be increasing his “education”.
What training tips and tricks have you used?
Share it in on our Facebook page! >