Training All The Time

Few of us have time for formal dog training on an ongoing basis. However most dogs really do require continuous training to uphold the social behaviour you want. The solution is to use everyday situations as training opportunities. Realize that you have power because you are the keeper of all things your dog wants; food, treats, friends, playthings, park time, walks, hikes, fetch, games and affection. The key is to view all of these as rewards, or privileges which your dog must earn through demonstrating good manners.  The next time you are going out, or about to feed her etc or she signals she wants something, withhold it and first ask your dog to demonstrate a “please”.

Start with a simple “sit”, ask for a “look at me“. You may need to touch their nose with your finger and draw it to your nose as you say “look”. Then when she is sitting calmly, quietly and has given you a look – reward her with whatever you had already planned to do anyway.  Its important to lengthen the time she waits for her reward in order to build her impulse control discipline (patience). This will serve you when unavoidable delays occur and instead of your dog eventually going nuts, she has learned that by not acting on her impulse eventually brings the reward. Also in this way improving good manners become part of your everyday routine and you dont need to make time to train.

Obedient dogs with good manners are a pleasure to engage, are welcome in public and are ultimately more safe (ie by controlling their impulse, to stop and look at you rather than bolt after something that attracts their attention). Here are some of the activities where you should request a “please” action, before:  Throwing a ball, Frisbee, etc.; Handing over a toy; Putting the food bowl down; Giving a treat or chew toy; Clipping on a leash to go for a walk; Opening and stepping out a door; Taking off a leash at the park or beach; • Allowing the dog into or out of the car. Good manners become linked in your dog’s mind to all her favorite activities and so she learns to behave politely all the time.

When your dog can sit quietly, as you reach for the leash and clip it on versus whining, jumping around or pawing at the door, not only have you helped your dog develop positive social behaviour, but equally important you have reduced her stress and anxiety around getting what she wants. This treatment is nice on your dogs’ feelings and will be definitely nice on yours and your families.

Your partners in your dogs health and happiness.