There is no magic wand or shortcut in dog training. Dog trainers make it look easy since we provide consistency, clarity and enforce expectations with each dog. This is what it takes to enjoy your well-trained dog.
We get calls and emails all the time about specific problems people have with their dogs (jumping up, pulling on the leash, resource guarding, distracted in public, etc).
The best advice we give to all clients and potential clients is enforce all commands when given, manage the situation until it is resolved and develop a healthy relationship with your dog.
By healthy, we mean an objective and mutually respectful relationship. Understanding that your dog is a dog and needs to be fulfilled mentally and physically. Your dog is not a child and needs to be respected for the canine that he or she is.
Many times, clients need to work on the relationship with their dog in addition to working on the problem behaviors. You can’t just fix the problems-you have to repair the relationship.
Cuddling on the couch is not the answer. Going for a walk, practicing commands in new environments and using enrichment activities to fulfill your dogs’ needs.
Too many times we feel sorry for our dog, can’t get over their past and feel bad enforcing rules and consistency. This is where many owners fail their dog. They feel sorry for their dog and stop following through with commands or applying consistent corrections.
A great term I have recently started using is non-negotiable. For example, Dogs that don’t like getting in the car or going in the crate. I use gentle leash pressure and make each command or activity non-negotiable. The dog HAS to go in the crate. The dog HAS to get in the car. I will be patient but persistent. Once the dogs learn that I am not giving up and I am fair but firm, they obey. Once they do, I provide lots of praise and reward to the dog.
Dogs need structure, exercise, and discipline. Discipline is not a dirty word. It involves managing your dog’s behavior until you have created new habits. This may mean crating, tethering, dragging a leash or using a pet cot. Consistency is the key. And you need to be consistent for more than a few days or a few repetitions. It takes at least 7 days to start building a habit but 21 days to really maintain that habit.
Training is hard. Most people want an easy solution. There is no such thing. Our goal is to help you find ways to incorporate commands into your routine and make training fun. It is still hard, but the goal is not to give up. It takes time, patience and leadership to have a great canine companion. Anything worth doing well takes effort.
Many times, trainers post great photos and videos on their social media sites of dogs doing a great job. But what you don’t see is all the practice attempts and repetitions involved before that final video or photo was taken.
Every trainer wants owners to live their best life with their best friend.
But you will only have that amazing relationship if you are dedicated and recognize you need to do what is best for your dog. And sometimes that is not what is best for you. How much effort are you willing to put in to have a well-trained best friend?