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Make Training Successful for the New Year

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By   |   09 Jan 2019

 

A new year has hit Herriman, Utah. A fresh new start is always a great time to think about how you want to improve, how you can regroup and move forward in a direction that will bring you greater satisfaction in your life. Dogs bring great joy to our life and working to make your pup a more enjoyable part of your family is a great goal for the new year.

Here are a few simple steps to making training effective and get the results you are looking for:

  • Set a goal for each session– having an objective for your session will help to map out your daily plan so that you aren't spinning your wheels. An objective will allow you to recognize the progress you are hoping to achieve. Remember to break down larger behaviors into small steps and work at your dog's Grade School Level. Much like climbing a mountain, your goals should represent each step in your dog's climb to achieve the final behavior you desire. You can't reach the peak of the mountain in one giant step, so figure out how to break down the behavior you want to achieve into at least 5 smaller steps that lead to the absolute behavior.

  • Grade School Level– adjusting the environment for your dog to be successful! This is the most critical aspect to every training session. Your role in your dog's training is to be creative in adjusting distractions, duration and distance to craft the ideal environment for your dog to be in a mental zone to learn the concept you are teaching. If there is too much excitement, you are asking the dog to endure for too long or your dog is too close to triggers that generate emotion– your dog will fail and you will become frustrated that progress isn't occurring. If the dog is failing, you aren't doing your job, so make the necessary environment adjustments or reduce the criteria you are expecting in order to reward.
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  • Quality over Quantity– keep your training sessions short and effective. Based on your goal for your training session, score each repetition on a 1-10 scale. Above 5 is passing, but effective training comes when your dog is averaging a score of 9. Adjust the Grade School Level so your dog is achieving high scores during each repetition.
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  • Reward for Behaviors You Like– molding your dog's long-term behaviors is best achieved by rewarding behaviors you like, consistently, every time they happen.
 

Have you ever wondered how to handle a dog who goes bonkers and jumps on people when they come to the door? With these steps in mind, here is a closer look at breaking down this common frustration. 

  • 1) The first step is to assess what emotion the dog is expressing. In this case, it's usually an abundance of excitement. Knowing the root of the behavior is important to addressing the experience for the dog.
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  • 2) Because excitement comes through energy, make sure to look for different inputs of energy into the environment. The following factors are how we will adjust the Grade School Level for our training to be effective.
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    • *Distance – if the dog is allowed to access the trigger that is generating the excitement, they are going to have a very difficult time managing their emotion because they are too close. Tether or crate the dog so they can't access the trigger this early in the training process when they don’t have the skills to deal with that level of emotion yet.
    • *Movement people moving generates energy and excitement for the dog which at this point, the degree of movement may be too intense for the dog to again deal with the level of emotion they are feeling. Break down the movement, starting with just standing still, and reward when the dog is calmer in your presence. From this point, break down the experience for the dog from the handler standing still to the target behavior of keeping paws on the floor when people come through a door. Step the training up the mountain slowly until your dog is able to remain calm in higher excitement environments.
    • *Ability to Relax a dog with an abundance of energy, needs to learn self-soothing skills. Relaxation is at the core of every moment of emotional instability.

  • 3) As training progresses, your role as the handler is to constantly be assessing the environment and tweaking factors for your dog to have OVERWHELMING success each step of the way. Don't settle for "OK" or "fine" behavior, stick with each step until the dog is 100% successful and feels good about the situation. Speed never builds a strong foundation and a solid core is what insures long-term success!
 

To learn more about specific training exercises and techniques that will build your confidence and create empowering experiences with your dog, reach out and let us help you create the relationship you are desiring with your dog for years to come!


 

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