WHERE TO BEGIN TRAINING
When teaching dogs something new, it is important that the environment is free from distractions. Dogs cannot focus on learning new behaviour if they are distracted with sights, sounds and smells.
Begin by training in an environment that they are very familiar with, indoors for example where it is easy to focus your dog's attention. Keep training sessions short, 5-15 minutes is usually enough for most dogs. If you find that training has been going well and then your dog begins to be unresponsive, you have probably worked them for too long. If this happens, try and ask for an easy action so you can reward them and end the session on a positive note. Avoid training if you are tired or stressed.
PROGRESSING TO MORE STIMULATING ENVIRONMENTS
If you only ever practice your training in the house, your dog will only respond to the commands indoors. Once you are getting reliable results for a command begin increasing the environmental stimulation in gradual stages. Start by practicing your commands in the garden, which has slightly more distractions, but is still a familiar environment.
Once you are acheiving success in the garden, progress to practicing established commands when you are out walking in a very quiet location. The environment is more interesting and has slightly more distractions. Practice keeping your dog's attention.
Avoid asking for any action if there is too much stimulation near by, or if the dog is in a heightened state - this will only set you up for failure! You must be able to focus your dog's attention, thereby giving your dog the best opportunity to succeed. Success strengthens reliability and helps to build confidence in your dog.
Build up to working in more stimulating and distracting environments in small stages.
PRACTICE DURING THE COURSE OF EVERYDAY LIFE
If you don't use it, you lose it!
You do not neccessarily need to set aside time every day to practice your training, just use it during the course of everyday life. You will be amazed how quickly training becomes reliable
Ask you dog to do something obedient before giving any type of reward. For instance before petting, feeding, putting on the lead for walks or playing games. Breaking game play with obedience commands prevents your dog getting overstimulated and increases focus.and obedience.
TRAINING IN A MULTI-DOG HOUSEHOLD
Divide and conquer!
You can't teach a group of novice dogs at the same time, unless each dog has their own handler.
If, like me, you have a multi-dog household, you should work with your dogs individually. Take them into a room on their own, this way each dog has a chance to focus on what you are trying to teach without the distractions of his buddies. The other advantage is that and it gives you the opportunity to strengthen the bond with each of your dogs.
If you do not concentrate on building your relationship with each dog, often they form a stronger attachment to each other, which can make training more difficult.
Once you are getting reliable results individually, you can begin to work them together.
"Saving one dog will not change the world,
but surely for that one dog,
the world will change forever."
Dog Training and Behaviour
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