Hello again and welcome back! How are all of your doggies getting on? I hope they’re not bored yet! A great way to keep them entertained is to teach them a few new tricks. Maggie has mastered “wait” now and along the way I learnt some valuable things about my little pug to make the most of out of training sessions together. It was tough! So today I want to share with you five tips for helping your dog reach their full potential during training.
Know Your Dog Inside Out I know this sounds really silly, of course we know our dogs! With training Maggie and having all day with her I had time to figure out when she learns best. Is she a night owl or up with the lark? Does she learn better after eating or before eating? Some dogs learn much better before a meal because they’re more motivated by food. That being said, what is their favourite food. Is there a food that they love more than others and are more driven by? Or are toys the secret? I know Bella, one of the dogs we walk, will do nothing for treats but put a ball into the equation and she’s much more willing.
Kryptonite No, we’re not turning our dogs into Superman but sometimes I wish we could! This is a system I learnt about a while ago by putting the things your dog likes in order of appreciation. Do they like chicken or turkey more - Tug of War toys or tennis balls? Sit down for half an hour and check what it is that makes your dog tick most. The higher the reward the more likely they are to perform better in their training sessions. It’s worth it to them! Collect the things that you think your dog likes best and test out the theory. Once you have your list of Kryptonite you can establish which treat you use for which trick. I had to use Maggie’s favourite food to make sure she could wait for me! Know Your Breed
Are there any traits from the breed of your dog that could help or hinder their training? Working breeds are much more likely to thrive with retrieving activities whereas Pugs thrive a lot more with laziness! Trust me, Pugs are difficult to train or at least mine is. If anyone knows of a Pug that does tricks with no problems at all please let me know your secrets! Pugs are notorious for their flat noses and breathing problems and Maggie is no exception. I know that this gets worse when it’s warmer so midday training sessions are out of the question. However Pugs are bred to be lap dogs so she does love to please so this definitely helps with her training sessions. Knowing the traits of your specific breed helps to find out how to tailor their training sessions specifically for them. Short Bursts and Keep Pushing!
I’ll put the last two tips in under the same heading because it’s Bank Holiday Weekend and I’m feeling rebellious! Dogs learn better in small bursts. Don’t push too much for too long otherwise your dog is going to burn out. It’s like doing a workout and you think you can do that final chest press and you burn out, drop the weight and go home feeling defaulted (literally!) If your dog is getting it, end on a high. Don’t keep pushing! However, dogs like a challenge so push to their full potential. In their next session if they crack their new trick, make it harder. Make a sequence of tricks into a routine or teach an even harder trick next time. Dogs love to be challenged so keep making it harder, more rewarding and a lot more fun! Until next time, keep your tails wagging! Rachel