Let’s not waste any time. You want to know the #1 secret to dog training. Well here it is… Dog training must be fun, all the time!
That is the secret to success behind every great dog training. If you and your dog aren’t having fun, you are doing something wrong. Anytime training becomes frustrating for you or your dog, you should stop immediately and take a little break. Here are some ways you can make training more fun.
Use Clicker Training
Clicker training is nothing new, but the popularity of clicker training has increased in a big way over the past decade. The increase in popularity has happened with good reason; it’s a fun and highly effective way to train your dog. The concept is simple – use a device that makes a clicking sound each time your dog performs a desired behavior. After a click, the dog gets a small treat. Soon, the dog correlates the click with treat and will do just about anything to make that click happen! This is a lot of fun for the dog and it’s also fun for people, because most dogs learn using this method very quickly. Don’t worry, when used properly, you will phase out the clicker and the treats later. Plenty of trainers are familiar with clicker training and there will probably be several in your area.
Use Toys and Games
Some dogs just aren’t very food motivated (but don’t tell the owner of a Labrador Retriever that). For a dog that is more into play than food, you can use toys to your advantage. When the dog performs a desired behavior, you can throw a ball or play a quick tug game. Anything that motivates a dog to learn and perform desired behaviors in return for a reward is a fantastic way to train – whether that’s with treats, praise, or play.
Keep Training Sessions Short
Training should be fun! However, teaching a dog a new trick can be very mentally draining for your dog. This is a good thing, but remember, everything should be done in moderation. Instead of an hour long training session, maybe break it up into 4 separate 15 minute training sessions.
Always End on a Good Note
You never want to stop training when you or your dog is upset or frustrated. Always end the training experience in a positive way. Even if your dog didn’t do anything you wanted him or her to do, you should end the session with love, praise, and a tasty treat. Every training experience should be remembered as positive for your dog.
Proper Physical Exercise is Crucial
You may not like this part, but your dog needs physical exercise. There is simply no better way to exercise your dog than to go for a long walk. Yes, throwing the ball around or allowing your dog to run in the back yard is great. But your dog needs more than that. Dogs instinctually love to migrate. It’s one of their greatest pleasures in life. Walking with your dog gives them physical exercise and also allows you to build a bond with your dog. Whether you know it or not, every time you walk your dog, your bond strengthens. This helps out during training in ways you may not be able to imagine at this point. Besides, the physical and mental activity helps to create a more balanced dog, which makes a dog easier to train, and creates a more balanced household!