Many times people and their dogs get bored practicing the same exercises over and over during training. That isn't fun for anyone! Think of new ways to practice behaviors - hide and seek for recalls, new places (like on the stairs or in the bathroom) for stationary positions, incorporate novel objects (like boxes or hula hoops), or use toys and play intermixed with the cued behaviors. I try to work as much play into a training session as I can!
|Monday gives great focus :).|
- Keep training short: 5-10 minute long sessions a few times a day is easier for the dog to handle. Also make sure to end your training sessions while your dog is still interested in working for you, leave them wanting more :).
- Work at the right pace: try to structure your sessions so that your dog remains successful the majority of the time. You want to shoot for 80-90% accuracy before making your training harder.
- Add distractions early: once your dog has mastered a behavior, incorporate distractions before adding the other two variables (duration and distance). For a good example of this check out the two videos I featured in my Stay post last month.
- Vary the reward: change up the type of treats you offer (remembering to keep them high value) to keep it interesting. Toys can also be alternated with food or with other different kinds of toys. I like to also employ fast movements and games of chase - what dog doesn't enjoy a quick game of chase? :) I use that a lot when working on loose leash walking.
- Be in the moment: this one is for us :). Make sure to give your dog your full attention - remove distractions like TVs and phones. If you want your dog to focus on you, you have to give them focus right back.
- And remember to ALWAYS EMPHASIZE THE POSITIVE (plus check your attitude!). Positive reinforcement training builds confidence and joy and in training.