5 things to ask yourself during a training session

You probably want to make sure you're doing everything right during a training session with your furry friend. Here are 5 things to ask yourself during a training session to keep you (and your dog!) on track.

1. Am I teaching the command/trick/behavior gradually?
In other words, are you using shaping? Shaping is where you use baby steps to teach your dog the desired behavior. No dog will immediately lift his paw high and proud when learning "shake". At first when lured your dog will just twitch his paw, and you reward that behavior until your dog is ready for a verbal cue and is lifting his paw higher and higher. Make sure you're not immediately skipping to the end stages of teaching a behavior during your training sessions.

2. Am I confusing my dog?
Act in a calm and simple manner. Too much movement, too many cues, and all different variations of teaching a behavior will surely confuse your dog. Choose one method of teaching and stick to it to make sure your expectations are clear to your pup.

3. Am I becoming frustrated?
Some dogs will learn different things faster than others. Sometimes, as people, that can annoy us. If you're becoming frustrated or stressed, that will be picked up by your dog and make him feel the same way. Plus, training should always be fun and now your dog will have a negative association with training. If you are becoming frustrated, take a break and continue once you're calm and in a positive mood.

4. Is my dog becoming frustrated?
Dogs learn best in short, simple, positive training sessions. Too much confusion (see step 2) could easily make him frustrated. Your dog might also become frustrated if you make the training sessions too long and strict. Training for 5 minutes a few times a day will work much better. When your dog does catch on to the desired behavior, reward heavily from time to time to keep things interesting and keep your dog wanting to learn and on the right track. Just like if you get frustrated during training, have your dog take a break from training to calm him.

5. Is the session too distracting?
Maybe you're all stressed about the meeting you have tomorrow, or you can't stop checking your notifications on Instagram. During a training session, zone out all distractions from your job, social media, your family...anything that could be distracting you. In fact, it's said you shouldn't train two dogs at once because neither of the dogs would have your full attention. If your dog is the one who's distracted, move your session to a more controlled environment and reward your dog for focusing on you.

What do you ask yourself during a training session with your dog?


Post a Comment