Use Your “Happy” Attitude and Voice
Your dog won’t be eager to obey your commands if you yell like a drill sergeant. Also, if you use even, never changing tones, your dog will quickly lose interest from lack of excitement and praise. Dogs are highly attuned to your body posture, voice tones, and facial expressions – more than our humans will ever guess. And, if you get excited or agitated and break out into a sweat, your dog can smell it, helping him determine that you are upset with him. With these things in mind, remember to use your happy voice and attitude when training your dog.
Make the Reward Worth the Effort
I will work for basically any human food (except cucumbers; those are gross!), but Rosie is a bit pickier in that sense. She’ll do tricks for dog food at home, but when out in a distracting situation, she needs something better. A bacon-flavored treat is more like it! For some dogs, focusing on a human when there are so many other enticing things just isn’t worth the reward. This goes for hard tricks too. If you’re asking your dog to chase his tail, he might not want to exert himself for a mere dog biscuit. A carrot or bit of bread, however, is something that may get his attention! Find out what food motivates your dog, and make sure that his reward is worth the effort.
Everyday Events are Training Opportunities
As my human is writing this post, typing must be paused ever so often to throw Rosie’s Kong for her to fetch. When and if she brings it back, she receives a load of praise, and the toy is thrown again. As you do day to day tasks, think of ways you could incorporate some useful training. For instance, when you’re ready to put on your shoes, encourage your dog to bring them to you. Or, if your dog comes up to you to get some attention, ask for a quick trick. My humans sometimes ask Rosie and me for a sit and then a handshake before we can get patted. The possibilities are endless, and you can really come up with some creative ways to keep your dog’s brain in tip-top condition.
To help your dog remember commands and keep his brain working, it’s important to train him daily. This doesn’t have to be hard; 5-10 minutes in the morning and again in the evening would be great! You’ll start to see a change in your dog’s obedience if you are diligent in training.
It’s a Pleasure, Not a Chore
Though sometimes hard, training opens up a whole new world for you and your dog, a world in which a beautiful bond of trust and love forms. Such an opportunity to bond with your furry companion is a pleasure, not a chore, so be kind, patient, and loving as you lead your dog through this adventure.