Short training sessions are great for busy parents and they also help dogs. Learning in shorter chunks keeps them motivated and focused. Here’s how to get started…
Choose a time for training
Walk your dog every day? Include a short training activity in one of your daily walks. If you don’t walk your dog, set aside 5 to 10 minutes for a playtime session that will double as training. Daily sessions are best, but if you can’t fit them in, shoot for a few times a week.
One command at a time
Focus on one basic command—sit, stay, come, heel or down—until your dog has mastered it. For example, show your dog the command and what you expect, reward him when he does it correctly and keep reinforcing it. With practice, your dog will start following your commands consistently.
He’ll work for food
When training, remember the reward! Give him a food treat, a favorite toy or your attention. And ensure his motivation is high by training before meal time, when he’s still hungry, or at a time when he craves your attention (after work, for example).
Make it fun
Training should be fun for both you and your dog. This keeps both of you motivated. If you’re too tired, not in the mood or your dog is too distracted, save it for next time. If he’s too energetic, let him run it off before training.
Keep it positive
Keep training positive and reward Fido for a job well done. Remember, his motivation is to please you and get the reward. If he doesn’t perform the command, his “punishment” should be no attention from you (ignore his bad response) and no reward. Avoid negative punishments like yelling or hitting.
The next time you walk or play with your dog, think about the training possibilities. With just a few fun lessons, your dog will start responding to your commands.
For a little help choosing dog treats for training, visit Pet Supermarket.