Establishing and reaching your dog training goals can be difficult
Maybe you're busy and always on the go with kids, work, or life. Maybe you have a puppy and the list seems endless, or maybe you have an adult dog with a chronic bad habit and you're not quite sure where to start. Training your dog isn't always easy, but it sure is rewarding!
The most difficult part of training your dog is getting started and establishing a dog training routine. Once you start working towards your dog training goals, the rest is easier! We recommend starting your routine first thing in the morning. This often works best because you have a chance to get a head start training your dog before every day life distracts you.
Start by picturing your dog training goal
Do you want your dog to hold a sit-stay while the front door is open? Do you want your dog to come towards you when called away from distractions, like the barking dog next door? Picture it and say it in the positive: “I want my dog to stay while I walk to the mailbox and back,” or "I want my dog to come to me when called, even with distractions." Don’t focus on the "wrong" behavior, focus on the correct behavior you want your dog to do instead.
Now you need a plan! If you're hoping to achieve your ultimate goal the first time out, you're probably going to be disappointed and demotivated. Break up your final goal into smaller, more achievable pieces and focus on one step at a time.
Here's a sample plan for a door-stay:
- sit-stay for 5 seconds next to you, reward
- sit-stay while you take 5 steps away, reward
- sit-stay next to door while you touch handle, reward
- sit-stay next to door while you open the door 1 inch, reward
- sit-stay for 5 seconds with door open, reward
- sit-stay while you take 5 steps through door, reward
Focusing on these smaller steps gives you a better chance of ultimately achieving your goal.
Spread out your dog training sessions
One of the most effective things you can do is to spread out your training sessions. Start off with a longer training session in the morning, then focus on smaller ones throughout the day. Training only once per day can be less effective because your dog may get bored and you may not get enough repetitions in. It's also much harder to motivate yourself to spend a big chunk of time on dog training sessions. 2-minutes of effective training can do more lasting good than a 10-minute boring session.
Still need more motivation training your dog?
You have to dig deep and be your own cheerleader! You have to think of the long-term benefits of reaching your training goal. Of course, there are sure to be setbacks. That's okay! Don't let hopelessness take hold, because it's a deep hole to climb out of.
Treat yourself like your car. You wouldn't let your car run out of gas before refueling, right? Don’t let yourself run out of motivation before you achieve your goal.
- Get a coach. Private lessons will keep you on track!
- Group obedience classes can give you a head start in the right direction.
- Looking for inspiration? Try one of our sports classes. Sport dog, Agility, and Tricks are all great forms of mental and physical exercises.
If you still need help training your dog, feel free to contact us!