Top Tips for Fun Training Sessions

Top Tips for Fun Training Sessions

January is National Train Your Dog Month! Training is a wonderful way to overcome the winter blues for you and your pup. The benefits of training include increased problem-solving skills, mental exercise and stimulation (especially helpful if weather keeps you indoors), and bonding time for you and your dog.

Whether you’re attending a group class, working one-on-one with a trainer, or training your dog at home, here are the top tips to make your training sessions fun and successful.

Plan

  • Know the behavior you’re going to ask your dog to do and what signal you are going to use to ask for that behavior.
  • Only reward if your dog does the behavior you asked.
  • If you’re not clear on your intentions, it’s hard for your dog to follow through.

Reward

  • Rewards are good! They pay your dog for doing what you wanted and keep them coming back for more.
  • Train with different types of rewards including different foods, praise, toys, play time or other activities your dog enjoys.
  • Save their favorites (most exciting) for training new behavior or for when you increase the difficulty, for example, when you go outside where distractions are abundant.

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Take Breaks

  • Asking for the same behavior many times in a row can get tedious for you and your dog.
  • Take pet and play breaks, alternate the skills you work on and change locations (if possible) to keep your pup excited and engaged.

Play

  • End your training sessions on a good note. A few minutes of play with a beloved toy, another dog or with you can help a dog retain what they just learned in your training session.
  • If you’re working on something new or difficult for your pup, end with a few reps of something easier that your dog knows well.

Challenge

  • If you’re looking for a new challenge for you and your dog, consider turning a behavior your dog does or offers naturally (without you asking) into a trick! The benefit is that your dog already likes to do this behavior.
    • Examples include jumping in a circle, resting their head on your lap, howling, or sneezing.
    • When your dog offers this behavior, reward it.
      • This can cause your dog to offer the behavior more to earn that reward.
      • Once your dog is offering the behavior more frequently, add a verbal cue or word to identify it as your dog offers the behavior.
      • This helps your dog associate the behavior with the word.
    • With practice, you’ll be able to say the word and your dog will respond with the new behavior, resulting in a new trick to show off that your dog loves too!

Celebrate National Dog Training Month by training your dog for 5-15 minutes, three days a week. These short and sweet sessions are easy to accomplish and still reap all the benefits. If you’re having trouble teaching your dog a new behavior or want additional training support, find a Camp Bow Wow location near you.

Happy Training!

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