What are those joyful memories you recall from your childhood? Do you remember that one friend who you enjoyed building forts or playing restaurant? Do you drive down a certain street and retell stories to your children or friends about experiences that come flooding back to you like it was yesterday? Despite all your worries and stresses in your life today, can you imagine just one full day of going back to those moments? Oh, it would put a smile on your face!
These are the same types of moments you should be creating with your dog during your time together! What is your dog's reaction when you pull out his favorite rope or ball? What about a ride in the car because he recalls the times you drove him to the park?
Training with your dog should be joyful and fun for both you and your dog. Each session should be focused on quality of the time spent together, not quantity or length of time. During your sessions, move the dog, use tools such as food, toys, or your own body movement and voice to build experiences for the dog that he can recall in the future and motivate him to want to spend time with you again.
Here are a few simple tips to help you create positive memories that your dog can cling too:
1. Your attitude about spending time with your dog will set the tone for your experience. Be positive even if you are working on resolving tricky behaviors.
2. Length of each session should be driven by your dog's learning capabilities. If your dog can remain engaged and able to connect the dots for learning, then continue. Younger or older dogs, probably need shorter sessions.
3. Mix up the content of your training. Incorporate 2-3 different techniques or exercises during your time together so both of you remain focused and enjoying the time together.
4. Have a goal or objective for each session based on the next step in your dog achieving a target behavior. Remember a target behavior is made up of several slices or stepping stones to guide the dog's success. Make the next step achievable and not overwhelming for the dog. If your dog is struggling to capture a concept, just make your next step a little less challenging.
5. As your dog's handler, make the rewards you provide come alive - move your feet and hands, toss food or toys out for the dog to run and find or toss the reward in the air. Learn what your dog finds most enjoyable and then create those experiences.
Working with your dog should be fun and memorable for you! Spending time with your dog is the best way to figure out what makes him happy also! Make those moments happen for your dog, so the next time you are ready to train your dog comes running back for more!
If you are feeling overwhelmed with setting up short training sessions that are joyful and effectively guiding your dog, just let us know how we can help! Full House Dog Training is totally committed to each of our clients for the life of their dog, no matter how routine the question may be or difficult the challenge may seem!
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