January is National Train Your Dog Month. In honor of this occasion I have decided to share my number one dog training tip with you.
My number one dog training tip is to be consistent.
Sounds simple, right? The reason is this my number one tip is because it can be so difficult. And in my work with clients over the years I have seen that it is the number one reason why dogs do not succeed in their training plans.
What does it mean to be consistent?
Consistency means several different things in dog training. The first of which means making sure that all members of the family or home unit are using the same methods to train your dog. You should all be using the same cues, the same markers and the same criteria for reinforcement.
Along the same vein all members of the family should be using the same response to unwanted behaviors. The goal is that everyone is sending the dog the same message. Do this for a reward, do that and get nothing (or be ignored or separated from the group). Being consistent in your approach goes a long way is helping your dog learn what behaviors are expected of them.
Lastly, consistency means regular, dedicated training sessions. It means taking the time to practice daily with your dog perfecting their new skills. Training sessions do not need to be a marathon. It is actually preferable that they be short but frequent throughout your day. Think 3-5 sessions per day, each lasting 5-15 minutes.
Let’s look at it this way. When you’re learning a new skill or creating a new habit, do you see better results from daily devotion to your goal? Do you see the same results if you work towards your goal only 1-2 times a week, or 1-2 times a month?
Training is an investment into your dogs future. Their future in your family, their future as a house guest, playmate, good patient at the vet or client at the groomers. And the currency for that investment is consistency.
If you are looking to create a new training plan for your dog or pick up work on an old and need a little help, contact us. We’d be happy to come out and assist you in working on your training goals.