7 Ways You Might Be Sabotaging Your Dog Training
So you've paid for the classes, you've gone through the motions with the trainer and your dog is doing great. Over time the old behaviors start to resurface, you're embarrassed to call the trainer back and tell them and you're left not knowing what to do. Avoiding the top 7 mistakes people make after training could save you money, time, and aggravation.
1. Not making everyone follow the rules.
So you're good. You've been on board with the trainer from day one, it's been your money you have invested, you are on the ball! That's great, and it definitely helps, but having inconsistency from other members of the household will always slow down progress if not regress your dog after training. If the kids (or spouse) can't follow the new rules it is up to you to reinforce them as much as possible until it becomes routine for your dog. Especially in the beginning stages, they will always be testing the boundaries of what they can get away with.
2. Letting them up on the couch or the bed
Especially if your trainer has told you not to do it! Even reasoning that it is only occasionally and once or twice shouldn't make a difference, it does. Having a firm and consistent boundary line of acceptable behavior will keep the rules black and white for their understanding, and keeps YOU in a position of being a pragmatic leader for your dog. If you REALLY need a cuddle fix, it's better to sit on the floor with them than invite them up (physically and behaviorally) to a place of power.
3. Getting lazy with reinforcement
If they need to be on a leash in the house to correct bad behavior, don't have them loose with out it. It may seem like you never have time to deal with the dog when life is always crazy and chaotic around you, but it will save you time in the long run so you don't end up yelling at them from across the room and them not listening to you, again. Same with using any other corrective or reinforcing device. If you are supposed to have treats near the door for new people coming in, make sure they are out every time. Get something festive to put them in so it looks nice and you don't have to remember to put them out every time, but make sure you stay consistent!
4. Not taking a step back when you (or the dog) needs it
We all need reminders sometimes. Don't be afraid to take your training back a step if they are starting to struggle again. It will never hurt and only ever help to go back to the basics of training. Whether it's reminding them to pay attention to you on a walk, putting a leash back on them in the house, or utilizing the crate more than you have done previously. All of it will help!
5. Cutting back on exercise
Life gets busy, we are constantly prioritizing things that need to get done, and what has to get put off until tomorrow. But much like our own health, it is important to stay as consistent as possible with exercise for your dog if it was recommended. It can definitely help curb behavioral problems before they arise. A restless dog that craves a job to do will create one for himself if you don't give him one! If you start seeing old habits reappear, one of the easiest things to look for is how consistently they have been given structured exercise.
6. Pushing the boundaries of training
Follow the trainers instructions the best you can when your sessions are over and don't be afraid to follow up with them AT ANY POINT. If you have a dog that you have had to carefully build confidence with, or one that used to leash lunge or have trouble socializing don't take it to the dog park as soon as your lessons are done. Taking baby steps with your new skill set will be important for your own confidence as well as your dogs confidence in you. In other words, don't push your luck!
7. Not asking for help before your problems become unmanageable.
Most dog trainers are not only willing, but happy to stay in touch with previous clients. Sending them updates and photos documenting your new found success will make any trainers day. As you navigate your new normal with changes being implemented in your house, make sure to reach out to your trainer if you are not clear or having issues with information they have given you. Part of their job is to make sure they leave you with a solid understand of what to do and why to do it. Trainers understand how complicated and overwhelming it can feel, especially after doing major behavioral modification. So stay in touch, and ask questions even after the training is done. It is always better to stay on top of a problem and nip it in the bud than wait for it to become something you need to do another round of training for!
For more stories, tips and tricks on training or if you have any questions please visit our website at www.dogtrainingredefined.com or email Andrea at Andrea@theanimaldept.com