Training Your Dog: Tips on Finding the Motivation to Establish a Routine

Wags & Wiggles | Training Your DogEstablishing 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:

  1. sit-stay for 5 seconds next to you, reward
  2. sit-stay while you take 5 steps away, reward
  3. sit-stay next to door while you touch handle, reward
  4. sit-stay next to door while you open the door 1 inch, reward
  5. sit-stay for 5 seconds with door open, reward 
  6. 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. 

Parting tips:

If you still need help training your dog, feel free to contact us!

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
– Aristotle

8 Responses

  • It was really helpful when you said to start a plan. My husband and I recently got a puppy for our family a couple of weeks ago, and we are planning on having him take training classes, but we wanted to know some extra tips on how to give him some extra training. We’ll make sure to keep these tips in mind once we find a dog training class for our puppy.

  • I love your tip of breaking up your end goal into smaller more achievable parts. My sister recently got a puppy and she is having a hard time because she wants him to just learn everything so quickly. I will send her this article so she can see your sample plan of a door stay.

  • My wife and I want to adopt a dog. I like how you mentioned that it is a good idea to determine a training goal. We don’t have a lot of time to do dog training, so it might be a good idea for us to use a professional.

  • I want to adopt a dog next month, but I’m worried about his behavior since my neighbors are not very happy with my decision. It really helped when you suggested we look for a coach to help improve our dog’s training process, so I’ll look into it right away. Thanks for the tips on how to train a dog effectively without losing motivation.

  • I really appreciate you talking about how you should spread dog training sessions out. I used to think that as soon as you adopt a puppy, you’re supposed to train it non-stop until it develops the behavior you want. That does indeed sound ineffective, so I’ll take your advice and make sure we go at a steady pace when I find a dog training expert in the area.

  • Thanks for mentioning that spreading out training sessions is really effective for dogs. I’m hoping to train the puppy that I adopted about a month ago. He’s 20 weeks old, so I think that’s a good time to start training him.

  • Thank you for explaining about how you should spread your training sessions out over the day. We’re thinking about how to train the puppy that we’re getting the kids for Christmas. I’ll be sure to try this out so that we can effectively train this new member of the family.

  • Going for dog training with specific steps and commands in mind might really be the best way to develop a good routine. This way, the dog can tell when it’s trying to learn something and when it should act on it, thus it will have a much easier time adjusting. Should I find a dog training expert in the area, I’ll definitely ask them for some help with this right away.

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