Listen to your Dog
If your dog isn’t listening to you, there’s probably a reason. They’re not doing it to be stubborn or malicious. They may not know “sit” outside of the house or they may be sick or stressed or you haven’t managed to be more interesting than dirt. When we were taking Rally Fr-Ee classes, Mr. N totally shut down because he was so overstimulated due to the environment (outdoor classes) and frustrated because I was frustrated and it was a vicious loop. With our trainers’ guidance, I focused on asking for engagement and play in the new setting and for behaviors he already knew well. And our last class, he made it around the course and did about half the exercises.
A mistake that people often make is not rewarding good behavior enough especially outside of designated training times. Mr. N regularly gets “maintenance” treats when we’re not actively training. He gets treated for being calm when the neighbors’ dogs walk by our window, for cooperating with grooming and other house manners.
If we only notice the bad, we’re missing excellent opportunities to train and reward our dogs. Think about it. If only your mistakes were noticed and highlighted and your progress ignored, would you want to continue with whatever you were doing? I actually stopped taking a dance class for this reason. It was a small class and the instructor pointed out my mistakes and only mine for the entirety of the class. I know I made plenty of mistakes. It was my first class. But when you only hear criticism, it doesn’t make you want to progress any further.
Nobody brings a dog into their household to add sorrow to their lives. At least I hope they don’t. We bring dogs into our lives because they bring us joy and laughter and entertainment. Training your dog should be fun, not arduous. I will let Mr. N take the lead in training sometimes and his tiny brain comes up with the most interesting things.
His stomping trick came about because one day he decided that he was going to stomp at me if he thought I was being obtuse or not giving him a deserved treat while training. I thought it was hilarious and then I decided to put it on cue.
I was trying out a training idea where you train with another dog in order to amp up your dog and/or create training interest. Due to a lack of dogs to experiment with, I made do with a stuffed panda. I started talking to the panda and asking for behaviors and treating the panda and Mr. N was like what is this? Those are my treats and my tricks and my person! I was asking the panda for a high five and Mr. N decided he did not want to be left out and started high fiving the panda.
What is your secret to being a good trainer?
Welcome to First Monday’s Positive Pet Training Blog Hop hosted by Cascadian Nomads, Tenacious Little Terrier and Rubicon Days. Please share your responsible pet owner positive pet training tips by linking a blog post or leaving a comment below. Any positive reinforcement training posts or comments are also always welcome. The Positive Pet Training Blog Hop goes all week long. Our next hop will begin Monday, Sept 7th and continues for a week.
One of the things that Mr. N considers a fitting reward (because he is a terrible food snob) is Caru treats and we’re giving some away!