Three tips to make your training more effective

Congrats on your new pup! Below are the top 3 tips to make your training more effective since HOW you train is more important than how long you spend training.

Praise the victories

The most important step in training a well behaved dog is to praise the small victories. Often, we get so frustrated with a pup so when she finally sits after being told 10 times we don’t reward her, we just walk away or move onto the next thing that we were trying to do. This is the wrong thing to do. Praise her lavishly each and every time she does something right. Did she come to you? GOOD GIRL! Did she sit? GOOD GIRL and a treat! Did she stay? Wonderful!

Remember that dogs increase behavior that feels good. If she sits when you tell her to, and she gets praise, she will be more likely to sit the next time since sitting gave her a positive outcome. However, if she is being resistant to sitting and you tell her to sit 10 times and when she finally does, you, feeling frustrated at her non-response, simply say “good” and walk away, she will think, “Well sitting got me nowhere and in fact my owner just stopped paying attention to me. I guess the only way to get attention around here is to act up!”

Set her up for success

The second puppy pitfall to avoid is giving the dog too many tasks to do at once when she first starts training. For example; sit then stay then come then stay. Because your dog is just learning these commands, you are almost setting her up to fail since somewhere in the sequence of events she will forget what she is doing and mess up. When she does, we correct her, thus erasing all of the positive stuff she did before she screwed up. So make sure to praise each and every step. Sit. Good! Stay. Good Job! Come. Wonderful!

The turtle always wins the race

Finally, move slowly when advancing a command. Don’t expect her to stay in one spot for 5 minutes one day and 20 minutes the next. She won’t be successful and the repetitive failures will cause her to shut down. You can also think of it this way: Which sounds better to you? Today you must pack your stuff, fly to Nepal and climb Mt. Everest; or I want to start training you to climb mountains, let’s go out for a short hike around town to get you started? The small step sounds better huh? And as long as you continue to move forward you will still reach the same goal.