Do you ever feel like your dog is listening to the dog trainer more frequently or better than it listens to you?
If so, you’re not alone.
Usually, the problem is a lack of consistency between the time a dog spends with its trainer versus the time it spends at home with you. Generally, pet parents prepare their dogs for success ahead of their dog working with the trainer, but they let their guard down at other times. If dog parents take a trainer’s mindset, the results will be more consistent.
For example, even when you’re just lounging or relaxing around the house, all of your training tools, such as your dog’s collar, leash, or treats, should be within reach. This level of consistent preparation is the key to success.
Being prepared for the sake of your pup is only fair!
This level of consistent preparedness is not only a recipe for overall success; it’s the only fair way to treat a dog in training.
If you are leash-training your dog for only an hour each day, how fair is it to hold them accountable when attitudes and behaviors slip while they’re not leashed? Should you expect a dog to be well-behaved around other dogs after you let them go crazy at other dogs outside your window or fence?
Put yourself in their paws for a moment. What would life be like if we were allowed to arrive at work late, without consequences, on certain days, but on other days you get in trouble?
The bottom line is that consistency and preparation matter. For training to be successful, a dog parent must always be aware of behavior opportunities and have their tools on hand to teach and motivate consistently.
Of course, preparedness and consistency do not equal militancy. Nevertheless, a dog parent can be consistent with their pet’s training, promoting a productive and fluid experience in a relaxed environment. But, again, it all boils down to preparation.
Be aware of the dog as an individual.
Like humans, dogs are thinking, living, breathing creatures with different behavior dynamics and varied responses to the world around them. By recognizing their dog as such, dog parents can prepare themselves to respond to their individual needs at any given moment for the greatest success. To do so, a dog parent must be fully aware of their dog.
If you have a family, think of the time spent with a dog in training, like parenting. When you can’t watch your young child, then you can’t keep them safe or teach them. Young children won’t understand boundaries, rules, or words, at least at first. To ensure they can learn what’s expected from them and for their experiences to be healthy and happy, a parent must actively remain aware of where the kids are and what they’re doing. You’ll also have to teach the same lessons repeatedly until the child gets it right. The same should apply to handling a dog in training when they are home with you.
Just like humans, dogs are also individuals. Like siblings, no two will ever be precisely the same. So, just as a parent must be aware of their child’s needs, they must be mindful of their dog’s needs. That allows us to use various tools to motivate, guide, and coach for optimum learning.
Pet parents must do their homework for dog training to be successful.
For training tools and methods to be helpful and effective, pet parents must use them accurately and consistently. Most often, it comes down to timing.
For you and your pet to be successful, whether it’s at the dog park, out for a walk, inside your kitchen, when someone knocks at your door, or in any other situation, you must anticipate the dog’s behavior and make sure you’ve set them up for success. Of course, that requires you, the pet parent, to do your part.
For example, your cell phone, laptop, or another device should be put away if you are with your dog, especially outside the home. A dog trainer doesn’t walk a dog looking at new construction in the neighborhood or texting a friend. Instead, they watch the dog remain proactive and ready for that teachable moment.
If you know that your pup tries to jump on you every time you sit on the couch, have the awareness to “sit” the puppy before you sit. You can even have the puppy’s leash on hand to support rewardable success and understanding. In time, your dog will realize that when you sit, there is an opportunity for them to join you will come from behaving politely.
For a dog to understand good behavior without confusion or frustration, the dog parent must always be ready to help the dog find rewardable behaviors in every scenario.
To ensure that you, as a pet parent, are doing your homework, your dog trainer will give you the solutions, tools, and ideas necessary to troubleshoot successfully at any given teachable moment. That, of course, takes work. Don’t just take our word for it; find out what the AKC has to say about the importance of dog parents doing their homework!
A professional dog trainer can show you how you and your dog can meet your goals and give you the confidence you need when your trainer is not around.
If you are aware, observant, consistently utilize your tools, and do your homework, your dog will listen to you the same way it listens to its trainer because you are setting the dog up for success!
We believe in you! You can do it!