Have you ever seen a well-trained dog in public and thought to yourself, “if only my dog was trained like THAT!” You look down at your pooch who’s choking himself trying to get to the perfectly trained pup, and decide to begin your generic Google search for “dog trainers near me” before your pup tears your arm off trying to get to his (seemingly) long lost friend. Luckily, you find KeenDog. You sign up for your free in-home consultation and are eager to get things going. It continues to get better, at your first lesson you see that your dog has so much potential and you can’t wait for your next lesson!
Along comes your second lesson. It’s been hard to keep up with training with your hectic work week. You haven’t been working with your pup as much as you’d hoped you could, and he isn’t being as sharp as you expect. You begin to get frustrated and short with him. You don’t praise him much and your interactions with him become labored. You’re mad, embarrassed, and wish the lesson was over. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there.
When I started training with KeenDog, I thought my dog was the smartest dog in the world. He could do no wrong, and I constantly bragged about how sharp he was. Being cocky helped me quickly get put in my place. Sure, Huey was smart. He caught onto things quickly and was a dream to train – until I stopped training him. A week between lessons, we didn’t work on a thing. “He couldn’t have forgotten anything, it’s only been a week,” I thought. I was wrong, but the funny thing was, Huey wasn’t the only one out of practice…I was. I was tripping over my words, had horrible body posture, and was just confusing my dog. It wasn’t his fault that I got out of my training routine with him, but he was the one who suffered. When his wrap around wasn’t just right, I got mad. My fuse got shorter and shorter, and he was listening to me less and less…talk about a snowball effect of frustration. I had to start thinking about things from Huey’s perspective. How well would you listen to someone who wasn’t making your interaction an enjoyable experience?
I learned a few things through training my first dog which may seem simple, but they are arguably the most fundamental elements of training. The keys to success with you KeenDog training are:
Don’t give up on your dog.
We put a lot of effort into training you to train your dog. Do him the same favor! If he just isn’t getting something, don’t give up on him. He wants to please you more than you want him to have the perfect heel, or nail that bounce trick. “Be the person your dog thinks you are,” and give him the attention he deserves! Find innovative ways to spark his interest, and accommodate his personality when you train him. If he doesn’t like treats, don’t expect him to give you the world for that piece of kibble. If all he wants is a good scratch behind the ear to tell him you love him, use that to your advantage and let him know you care.
Build a routine with your dog.
No, don’t do the same thing every single day with your pup, but make him a priority! Wake up 15 minutes early (even when it seems impossible) and brush up on some skills you just learned, or some of the fundamentals your dog has already mastered! That extra 15 minutes in the morning will get your day going, allow you to spend some extra quality time with your pup, and brush up on some awesome training. You don’t always have to make each training session an extravagant one, so just put your pup in a down-stay and check in with him while you drink your first cup of coffee, or have him heel with you around the house while you gather your things for work. You’d be surprised at how much your dog’s natural environment can be a distraction to him when he isn’t used to that kind of structure at home.
Don’t get frustrated.
This may be the single most understandable and simultaneously difficult piece of information to grasp, but it is almost the most important. Dogs don’t react well to being heavily scolded, and will often stop listening to you the more frustrated you get. The same is true with people. When your boss micromanages you and is picky about every assignment you complete, does it give you much incentive to do things? Would you like to be around someone if all they were doing is being short with you and losing their temper? Dogs have the same
feelings you do. If you’re rocking a training session and your pup seems to have hit the wall, don’t push him and set him up for failure. If he isn’t nailing things like you’d expect, don’t get mad at him. Try different training tactics or stop for a quick play break. This will help you blow off somesteam and help Fido regain his focus. A fun environment stimulates learning and helps ensure your pup will always be eager for his training sessions.
As always, don’t forget to always have fun training your pup. A few 5-15 minute training sessions a day may not seem like it would do much, but dogs love structure and thrive on learning new skills. Have fun with your pup and make the most of his training! Following these few simple tips will ensure that you and your pup are living your KeenDog lifestyle to the fullest.
– Ellie Porter, KeenDog Brand Ambassador