New Year Resolutions!
by Ceri O’Regan // January 2018
New Year Resolutions!
At Dog School, we talk about being consistent with your dog so they learn faster and gain a better understanding of our expectations. In your household, you may have 4+ people and your dog (or multiple dogs!) will take direction from each of you – so if everybody trains differently, it’s going to be very confusing for our dogs to keep track of what they should be doing and with whom.
If everyone trains in the same way, our dogs will learn much faster!
So, what can we do to keep things consistent at home and during training? We can start off by looking at what we’re asking our dogs to do, and how.
Decide as a family what cues you want to use!
Stay or Wait?
Down or Lay?
Come or Here?
It would be fantastic if our dogs could perform an instant Recall when we ask for it, but if Mum uses “Come” and Dad uses “To me” and the kids are using “Here”, our dogs could get very confused!
Visual or Verbal?
Some dogs know how to perform a cue on the word alone (verbal), some prefer a hand signal (visual) and others need a bit of both! Whichever way you and your dog like to train, make sure everybody is doing the same thing in the same way, especially when your dog is learning something new. When they can respond instantly to the cue, it might be time to challenge them and switch things up a bit – but for the basics, let’s keep things simple and make sure our dogs have the best chance at success!
Some dogs are alert to every little thing we do differently – the more consistent we can keep our training, the better for them.
We need to think about what our expectations are for each cue – if we ask our dogs to sit, do we want them to sit in front of us? To the side? If we all ask for and expect the same thing, our training sessions and home life will be happy and easy for you and your dogs!
Don’t forget your marker word!
Whether you want to use a clicker or a word to mark the behaviour you like and want to see repeated when our pups and dogs first start training, we should try to keep it consistent – so, let’s have everyone using a clicker or everyone using the same marker word!
I don’t have a clicker - what marker words can we use?
You can use any word you like, but you’re best to use something unique (your dog is going to hear “good boy” and “good girl” all the time, so try something different!).
Why not choose one of our options below?
Good! Nice! Yes! Biscuit! Bingo! Excellent! Spot on!
Once you’ve made your choice, make sure you stick to it every time!
A little tip and trick we discuss at our classes are introducing House Rules for you and your family (and the dog!). If you decide as a family what your pup is and isn’t allowed to do and agree to stick to those rules, your dog stands much more chance of success.
Put them on display somewhere visible - maybe the kitchen fridge or a cupboard door!
If you’ve discussed what cues you’re going to use, this is a brilliant place to make a list of them! This can be a helpful reminder for visitors, too.
This goes for rescue dogs too
House Rules are hugely beneficial if you are introducing a rescue dog into your household – of course, we should remember that some rescues have come from a previous home and they might have had very different rules! All dogs need an adjustment period when learning a new routine, so make sure you stay consistent so they can learn even faster, but give them some time – everybody makes mistakes!
Want some help implementing your training?
Introducing a new fluffy family member who needs a helping hand settling in? Visit our website to learn more about our Dog Training Classes for Puppies, Adults and Rescue dogs!
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