How many times have you been to a lesson or a group class and come away from it feeling a bit beaten up? Your pup may not have been listening, which caused you to get frustrated, they started listening less, and the viscous cycle continued? To top things off, when a trainer jumps in your dog seems to act perfect which can often make things worse for your mood. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there, trust me. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to help curb that training frustration and make training go smoother, in any scenario.
1. Don’t be afraid to use food in your training!
We’ve all heard it before…”my dog doesn’t usually act like this!” or, “I never usually have to use treats!” Training sessions can be hard work for your pup, and dogs have bad days just like people do. Don’t be afraid to help your dog along a bit by giving him some food or treats along the way! It could help improve his mood, or make him more willing to please which can help solidify the training you are trying to accomplish.
2. Use your marker words!
Many times when we get frustrated, we may unintentionally be focusing solely on the negative things your pup is doing. Don’t forget to tell him when he’s doing a good job. Take a few deep breaths when you are feeling beaten down, and try to remember to mark your pup’s good behaviors. Just as he needs help along when you are teaching him something new, he needs reminders when he’s doing the right thing. Seeing your pup perk up when you tell him “Good!” may be just what you need to lighten your mood a bit.
3. Make training fun!
Remember to keep your training a positive experience for you and your pup. Take lots of play breaks to help perk your pup up and give you a break from training for a minute – not every second of training needs to be structured! When you call your dog back to you, mix things up by turning the recall into a wrap around heel or “through”. Use tricks in your training to help keep things fresh and keep your dog engaged. Training should be a fun experience for everyone! Check out some awesome trick ideas from head KeenDog Bullet:
Remember, when the training blues have you down or you feel frustration brooding within you, set your pup up for success! Use his favorite treats every once in a while to keep him engaged, let him know when he’s doing a good job, and keep your training fun. Keeping these simple tips inn mind will help make each training session with your pup a good one.
– Ellie Porter, KeenDog Assistant Trainer