It’s that time of year again – smiles and waves as we drop our little ones off at the bus stop, and tearful goodbyes as we send our teenagers off to college. Amidst all the excitement and chaos of a brand new school year, don’t forget that your furry little one has some learning to do as well! After all the backpacks and binders, dorm rooms and textbooks, take some time to focus on obedience training with your dog. Here are a few fun and helpful tips to get you and your four legged student a perfect score!
Just like kids in school, dogs should be rewarded when they do a good job. In elementary school it may be a gold star for the right answer or a smiley face sticker on a quiz well done. For our scruffy scholars, food is the best way to reinforce positive behavior when training. Does your dog have a favorite treat? Does he wag his tail at the sight of a jar of peanut butter? Does he slobber at the sound of bacon cooking? Make sure you have a stash of the most scrumptious food you can find, so your pup has something to look forward to when he does his best work. When he sits as soon as he hears the command…A yummy sausage link! When he comes when called…A chewy piece of cheese! The more your dog receives a positive reward, the better he will perform.
How many times have you told your child, after they struggle with an assignment or can’t seem to figure out a difficult math problem, “Practice makes perfect”? In order to succeed, we have to give our full attention and greatest efforts, no matter how many times it takes to get it right. The more we practice, the better we get. Well, the same applies to obedience training with your dog! The more you practice a command with them, the more familiar those words will become to your dog. Try spending 5-10 minutes at a time focusing on one command. If you tell your dog “down”, and he doesn’t respond the first time, TRY TRY TRY AGAIN. Don’t give up. He may not get it at first, but after a few repetitions your dog should be able to respond correctly to the command. Much like children would spend time practicing their multiplication tables, repetition helps our dogs learn and remember what we teach them.
Do your best to make learning fun for your dog. In a school setting, recess is used to break up the monotony of the day. Recess allows kids to get some fresh air and play some of their favorite games. Apply the same concept to training with your dog. Take a break and spend some time outside, allowing your pup to release some energy. Play fetch with his favorite toy or go for a quick walk. This gives both you and your dog a chance to let loose and have some fun. Utilizing recess will break up your dog’s learning time and ensure that obedience training is something your dog enjoys and actually looks forward to!
In order to make obedience training a successful endeavor, both you and your dog must want to be there. Your dog has a natural desire to please you. If you are excited to teach your dog, he will be happy to learn. So make sure to consistently train your dog, and enjoy it! Don’t just work inside your home. Be sure to change the environment every once in a while, so things don’t get boring. Have class in the park one day! Most importantly, this should be a bonding experience for you and your dog, so the more time you are able to spend training, the more you are able to spend with your loved one.
Bring your canine collegiate to Morris Animal Inn! We offer dog training programs designed to teach and reinforce basic obedience, and we provide detailed instructions for reinforcement at home. For more information click here.