A few minutes of training every day will build a lasting, loving, relationship
We love our dogs, and want nothing more than a loving, lasting relationship that includes fun walks and exercising, off-leash romps, snuggles on the sofa, fetching, and the simple joy of companionship. When our dogs are at their best we love them endlessly. When at their worst, however, it can sometimes make us wonder whether we can handle their doggie antics. Pulling us on the leash everywhere they want to sniff and explore, barking incessantly, sometimes seemingly at nothing. While my Lucy has heard about the little boy who cried wolf, she’s the little dog who barked "woof"!
So, what to do and where to start?
What to do
The answer in some cases is simple. Start training the instant you get your dog, or better still, before you get him/ her. Training goes both ways; you can learn how to speak dog or rather how dogs communicate, so you can better communicate and understand why s/he does some of the things s/he does.
When to do it
Find a trainer who will help you incorporate training skills into your daily routine in a way that feels effortless. If you’re like most people, you want the training to be lifelong. For that you will need to occasionally fine-tune and review.
A little training goes a long way
1) Train in short sessions (3-5 minutes each)
2) Use real-life rewards every day (ask for a behavior your dog knows well before you:
- let your dog: outside,
- put food or water down
- clip on his/her leash
- invite him/her onto the couch
- give snuggles/attention (some snuggles should be free)
- throw a toy/ball, etc.
What kind of training
The first question clients ask me is often "What kind of training do I do? Use force, choke chains?” etc. It’s an easy question to answer. No. I do not use force, intimidation, choke chains, etc. Why? Partly because I simply don't like those things and do not want my kids doing them either, but mostly because I just don't need to. It is simply more effective and more fun (for everyone) to use positive training.
50 a day keeps the trainer away
In Kathy Sdao's book, Plenty in Life is Free, she discusses the Smart x50 program, and I love it! The idea is simple and sheds light on how easy it can be to get good behaviors. Have a goal of 50 rewards a day — approximately ¼-cup of your dog’s regular meal. Measure the food out in the morning when you feed your dog, and throughout the day, notice and reward things your dog does that you like throughout the day: coming inside, approaching with all paws on the floor, sleeping on their bed, chewing on their toy, etc. I bet you could do 100!
Great books and videos on dog body language
1) Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas (book or video)
2) The Language of Dogs by Sarah Kalnajs (video)
Share pics of you giving your dog 50 a day here: facebook.com/dogandcatllc.
This article is dedicated to Scout.
You came into our lives and changed them forever.
Thank you for the time you shared with us, it was too short, but it was full.
Jennifer Biglan, owner of Training Spot in Eugene, OR, is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner in Eugene, OR. She knew she wanted to work with animals at a young age. After graduating from the U of O and volunteering at a dog shelter, she found her calling. Jennifer is well known through the community, and by many area veterinarians for her work in solving behavior problems, and she has extensive knowledge and background training dogs. Learn more about Training Spot at trainingspot.us or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.