Our training philosophy focuses on CMR: communication, motivation and relationship. To set you up for success with your dog’s training, here are five quick tips on things you should NEVER do when training.
1. Train when you’re hungry, tired or distracted.
You want your dog to be at his best, yet you’re at your worst? It doesn’t work like that. Your dog knows you. He knows when you’re tired, hungry and distracted, and he knows when your heart’s not in it or you’re hangry. So if you’re training your dog, make sure you’re your best self so you can bring out the best in your dog!
2. Train using different rewards.
It may seem small, but having multiple different rewards in your treat pouch can be confusing, frustrating and downright annoying to your dog. You may think he likes the seven types of food and treats in your pouch, but what if he doesn’t? A reward has to be REWARDING. So if your dog doesn’t like the treat you’re giving him, he may be less motivated to do the next command you give him. And without realizing why, you’ll get frustrated at your dog for not being on his A-Game. Keep your reward THE SAME throughout the training session, and you’ll see greater success.
And if your dog is a total foodie like my dogs, then using the same piece of kibble will help keep your dog on task. He won’t be thinking about whether he’s going to get a treat or a piece of kibble, he knows the PAY is always the SAME and that’s important. After all, who wants to work for $5/hour if you’re willing to pay $20/hour?
3. Be greedy.
Ooh, this is a good one. I remember in dog trainer school the instructor barking at me, “Don’t be greedy!” Five minutes into the session when my dog was kicking butt I wanted to keep going. When in reality that was the perfect time to stop. Just because you’re dog is doing awesome doesn’t mean you should keep going. Usually it means you should STOP. A good training session is typically 1-5 minutes long.
4. Lose your temper.
Yeah, I said it. No one is perfect. If you’re TIRED, HUNGRY or DISTRACTED, or if your dog knows just how to push your buttons…stop. Stop the session. Put your dog up. Reset. Take 10. Whatever you need to do. Eat. Guzzle some water. Training your dog when you’re mad gets you absolutely nowhere. Dogs are SUPER sensitive and know when you’ve gone overboard. Love your dog enough to just stop training. And if you feel like every session is a total failure, get help. We know how to make sessions effective, productive and FUN!
5. Do too much.
A good training session covers 2-3 behaviors TOPS. Not 10. Unless you’re an ultra-marathoner type of dog trainer. Keep your dog’s focus by leading out with something of easy to medium difficulty. Then challenge him. Then finish out with some easy to end on a good note. For advanced dogs, you can mix things up a bit. But if you’re in the Basic Obedience Boat, just stick to the above game plan.
The above 5 mistakes are really easy to make, minus number four. Try to set yourself and your dog up for success and do your best to have productive, fun and rewarding training sessions with your dog. We always recommend having your dog work for food, keeping sessions to 5 minutes at most, and training throughout the day off and on.