January is National Train Your Dog Month. In January, dog trainers, owners, and canine experts come together to celebrate the importance of training your dog. A trained dog is a happy dog!
Dogs come automatically trained in loyalty, unconditional love, and friendship. They, however, don't know the basics such as sit, stay, down, or heel. These simple basic commands help protect themselves and help with their well-being and health.
Why is consistency so important when training your dog?
Just like us, practice makes perfect! Your dog will need to learn the commands, verbal and hand signals, and you'll need to stay consistent. Now, that doesn't mean to train them in one day constantly! You'll want to do it in short 10-15 minutes sessions. Just like us, they can and will get bored.
You also want to make sure they nail down the first training, which should be sit, before moving on to something else, like down. Too much training can be overwhelming and confusing to your dog.
How can you be more consistent with your dog's training routine?
Sometimes it can be challenging to start a new habit. We all know that, right? New year, new you, and all that. Same with your dog. It can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. It takes a dog anywhere from 21 to 28 days to make something a habit. So if you aren't staying consistent with their training, they will not make it a habit.
It is best to set some time away every day in your calendar to train your dog. Whether that be before you head out for work or after everyone has eaten and started to settle down for the night.
It's also essential that everyone in the home is helping to train your dog. Everyone needs to be using the same verbal and hand commands, so as not to confuse your pup.
What are some common mistakes people make when trying to train their dogs?
Waiting too long to start the training
When you start training early, your pet won't have time to develop bad habits. The younger they start training, the better. Create a comforting environment and start slowly. Consistent effort is vital to achieving the desired outcome.
Setting aside time to train
Make room in your daily schedule to train your dog until they can master the basics. If you want your pup to learn, you must avoid this common training mistake and be consistent. OH, and don't forget to reward your pup with lots of playtime for all their hard work afterward! They'll thank you for it!
Don't overdo it
Dogs have a limited attention span! If you start pressing them for too long, you are bound to lose their interest and retention and, in turn, will be less likely to want to "learn" more in the next training session. Your best bet is to train in 15-minute increments daily.
Too many distractions
If you want your dog to learn more and concentrate on the task at hand, you will have to combine indoor and outdoor training in various settings. Experimenting will help you recognize what works best for your pup so you can help them succeed before increasing the challenge later on.
New pet owners training their dogs will sometimes use the same command too many times without receiving the expected order. When you repeat "sit" 3 or 4 times in a row and finally sit and reward them, you are letting them know that it is okay to stay it 3 or 4 times before actually sitting. You want them to sit on the first "sit" and then reward them.
Too much emotion
It can get frustrating when training a new dog. Not only for you but for them as well. If you start feeling frustrated while training, take a break and come back to it later. You don't want your fur baby to feel intimidated or scared of you, so take some time for you both to "chill out" for a while. Dogs love to learn and enjoy pleasing their owners, so do your best to keep your sessions light and playful while keeping your expected criteria high.
How can you ensure that your dog remains well-behaved even after they've been trained?
Stay consistent! It would be best if you always stayed consistent with your commands, whether verbal or hand signals. Have you noticed how quickly your dog learns when they're given consistent training? Consistency is the key to successful learning and also applies to dogs.
If you want a well-behaved pet, don't stop with their initial training. Keep on practicing! And if you're not seeing results or notice some behavioral issues cropping up after months of successful training sessions, talk to your vet. There may be something going on, and the vet will help figure it out. They'll have all sorts of advice for making sure your pup remains well-mannered even after they've been trained. They may help figure out why there was a regression in the first place too!
Share some pictures of you training your dogs! We'd love to see how it's coming along! @vitalpetlife #trainyourdogmonth