My Top Training Tips…FREE!
Build a strong FOundation
It may not sound flashy, and it might not even look like much from the outside, but attention/focus is the best thing you can teach your dog. It’s pretty rare for a dog to come with built-in, natural drive to stay close and pay attention. Some breeds/types do have this—Border Collies are an example. Now you know why so many dog trainers own Border Collies! Any dog can LEARN to focus and pay attention, and it pays to build this foundation early and to reinforce it often. Start simple: reward your dog for paying attention to you, whenever you catch them doing it. Reward this offered attention to build a strong drive to check in with you. Train this way, and you won’t have to ask your dog to “watch” or “look!”
Focused dogs! These boys know that paying attention pays well.
Get out More
Train your dog everywhere. Dogs need to practice in a lot of different environments, and I don’t just mean train in your yard as well as your kitchen. Plan short outings to a variety of places to build reliability. Expect your dog to be distracted! That’s okay. Let them look at things, smell things, meander about. Giving them this time to settle into new places will actually help your training—even if you can’t get his attention to save your life! Spend 5-10 minutes in the new place, see if you can get a few behaviors from your dog, and if not, no worries, just go home. The next time you go to that interesting place, try again. I would bet money that your dog spends less time sniffing and more time engaging with you. Keep it short and easy, and then go home. The more you practice your skills in interesting, distracting places, the easier your dog will find it to perform at home or at class.