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All responsible dog owners know that good training and ongoing management is key to raising a well behaved, responsive dog, and this is something that we should all be doing on an ongoing basis!
Regardless of the age of your dog, you should work with them on a regular basis in order to keep their skills fresh, ensure their obedience, and possibly teach them new things too. This can take the form of an informal one to one training session involving just you and your dog, or by taking your dog of any age to an organised dog training group.
However, in order to get the best out of your dog and give them the best chances of having a successful training session, you should do a little groundwork first, and get your dog ready and in the right frame of mind to learn and respond to you.
In this article, we will look at the steps you should take to get your dog ready for a training class or training session. Read on to learn more!
If you wish to take your dog along to an organised training session with other dogs, this is usually very easy to sign up for. However, any class that involves your dog coming into contact with others will have some rules in place for the protection for all of the canine attendees, and so you should make yourself aware of these before you show up with your dog! Find out what the rules are for your training group, such as providing evidence of vaccinations, what equipment you will need, and if you need to show proof that your dog is flea treated and wormed.
Be sure to have all of these things ready before the class, and take along any evidence you may be asked for on the day.
In order to be responsive and learn effectively, your dog will need to be calm and ready to listen to you. Make sure that your dog has had the chance to work off their excess energy before you begin training them, by taking them for a good walk and letting them blow off steam before you get down to business.
You don’t want your dog to be exhausted to the point that they are falling asleep on you, but a fizzy, energetic dog that wants to run around is very hard to train, so let them get this out of their system before you start working!
Dogs learn very effectively by means of the system of praise and reward, and training treats are one of the most effective ways to catch and keep your dog’s attention and get them working with you!
Pick out something that your dog loves to eat and which is also easy to carry, not too messy, and not excessively fatty, high in calories or otherwise unsuitable for them. Have these to hand for the start of your session, and watch your dog’s focus fixate on you and what is in your pockets!
In order to get the best out of your dog when training them, the treats that you have for a reward must be desirable and appealing to them. If your dog has just been fed and is full up, they are much less likely to work for their rewards than if they are in anticipation of food and keen to get some! Don’t starve your dog before training them by any means, but schedule your training sessions for a time when your dog is not full up with their dinner or other treats.
If you are taking your dog to an organised training class, they will of course need a collar and lead; but find out from the organiser if you will need to provide anything else as well. Whether you are attending a class or working with your dog on your own, assess what type of kit you will need, such as possibly a harness, muzzle or choke chain, and have all of these things to hand before you start, even if you do not end up using them.
Before you work on refreshing your dog’s old skills or teaching them something new, get them in the mood to work and looking to you for instructions by beginning with some basics that your dog can reliably repeat.
These can be simple commands such as sit and stay, accompanied by a small reward, to get your dog’s mind in the right shape to carry on with higher level commands or further learning.
Try to keep your training sessions relatively short, and always end on a positive note; if your dog is simply not getting or reacting correctly to a command that you are trying to teach and is getting bored or frustrated, go back a step to something that your dog can do, and end the session with praise and a reward.
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