Improve your dog training success 

Dog training success is not as simple as turning up week on week to your training class and hoping it all comes together.

My own experience shows a number of these will fall by the wayside as they realise training is not a quick fix and they have to put the work in.  Others start to realise that their new best friend is a lot harder than they first thought.

All those idealistic images of them playing on the beach and the dog coming back each time they call soon disappear. There doesn’t appear to be an easy fix to the dog pulling you along on the lead and the owners despairs.

From personal experience, as a trainer working in a village hall, I used to see many owners assume that I had the quick fix and the ownership of training the dog was down to me.

 Who is to blame?

When the dog fails to meet their expectations the blame is laid at the dog’s door or the trainer. You might get yourself a bad trainer and so it is fair to lay the blame at their door.  However, rarely can you lay the blame at the dog’s door. They are not doing anything wrong except exploiting opportunities or repeating the bad behaviours you made rewarding.

This is one of the reasons that I now only offer one to one or specialised training as I can then ensure the client is doing the correct techniques at the correct time. Dog training success is not something other people have. With my help you can start to get it right.

I still get a high drop out, but you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink!! Some clients think I will have 1 session and the problem will be fixed!! I give them a reality check and off they go. Sadly the dog suffers and will most likely be looking for another forever home!!!!

For those clients who stick with it and realise success is in their hands then they start to change the relationship they have with their dog.

No secret route to dog training success just common sense

Some dog trainers I have met try to make dog training a dark art, a gift etc. They have names like the dog whisperer.   Rubbish, its common sense!!  One of the best things a trainer told me when I was finding my way was to stop and try and look at the world from the dog’s perspective.

Don’t complicate it, they don’t. Say to yourself ‘what does the dog get out of that behaviour?’ Remember dogs don’t know good or bad, they are not selfish or malicious. They do not plan and are not devious.  These are human traits we apply to dogs.

My personal view is one of the biggest problems in a dog’s life is us. We welcome them into our world. Teach them bad habits from the off and then blame them for the bad behaviours. Sadly in some cases the two then part company and the dog finds itself in a shelter looking for another owner and confused why.

Training the right way

If you can apply half the effort correctly it will achieve more than when you work hard and your efforts are wrong.  This happens a lot in dog training.

Dogs in comparison are simple creatures and don’t laterally think. Therefore, what we need to do is make their life easier.

The way to do that is through CPPR

For me CPPR are the foundations for correct dog training. It means:

  • Consistency
  • Persistence
  • Patience
  • Repetitions

I will use an example to explain what I mean.  Lets take the command ‘sit and wait’.  Easy enough one would think and yet some thought needs to go into how we teach it.

If we deviate from the way we teach it each time we try and teach sit then we are actually confusing the dog and expect them to generalise what we are doing to the command sit, which they will not do.

Dogs love structure and predictability.  Therefore, if we deliver our command ‘sit’ with structure and predictability which is consistent then we make the learning process a lot easier for the dog.

As the dog changes, struggles with the process of sitting we need to be persistent so they realise when we ask something they will need to give something. If we have been consistent in what and how we are asking; then we can confident the dog understands the task..

When behaviours become understood by the dog then it will learn we will insist every single time that action is carried out. It will never learn to ignore us and get away with it because we have always been persistent.

We then need patience as the dog starts to understand what we are asking.  A lack of patience and setting the dog up to fail will test the consistency of what we are asking and again lead to failure.

Repetition is key to success

Where many people fail is the last one which is repetition. If you watch a dog who excels at what they do then you can safely assume maybe hundreds of hours of practice have gone into making the task they perform appear effortless. My dog has an excellent recall.  This didn’t happen by accident and I practice everyday. Structured repetition delivered in a way where the owner is evaluating success and issues is the only way to move forward.  It is better to do 5 repetitions correctly than 20 incorrectly.  You will only be teaching the dog the wrong way.

Personal experience shows me that very rarely is a dog at fault when a owner struggles to train their dog. A lot of times we cannot even blame the owner if they have employed the services of a trainer who read one book and trained their own dog!!

One can see that when we consider CPPR in our dog training then we as the trainer have a structure to deliver training which sets the dog up to succeed not fail.

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