Successful Dog Training Tips
Suitable Environments for Learning New Behaviour
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, the smaller the room the easier it is 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, as you will not have the patients you need and the dog will pick up on your mood which may affect their ability to learn.
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 your dog has learnt a behaviour, and 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. When you are getting reliable results outside 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.
Avoid attempting any training 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 dogs attention, thereby giving your dog the best opportunity to gain success and reward. This will result in more reliable training, improve your dogs focus and help to build confidence in your dog.You can gradually build up to working in more stimulating and distracting environments.