Top tips on behaviour training for dogs

Post / September 23, 2022

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Behaviour training teaches a dog how to respond to certain situations without the need for verbal commands, making it an essential part of a dog’s training. In this article we will be covering some tips and tricks on how to train your dog most effectively & efficiently.

TIP 1: Be patient and set realistic goals

It is important to not expect incredibly quick results – the process of training a dog’s behaviour can take weeks or even months depending on the dog. Many dogs have genetic predispositions to react ‘badly’ to certain situations, so it is your job to stay patient and consistent with your training. Consistency is one of the key factors here; if you’re feeling unmotivated due to lack of results, remember even small amounts of training each day will result in positive outcomes, just maybe not quite as fast as you’re expecting.

TIP 2: Dogs process training best after exercise

A lot of dogs are naturally highly energetic; this is healthy and is a trait that humans have actively bred for since we first domesticated dogs. Although an energetic dog is no issue, it makes it harder for them to process information if they have too much energy and can’t relax and focus on a singular task. Take your dog on a long walk, play some fetch, expend their energy and then once they’re calmer, this is the optimal time to train your dog. Not only will it be easier to keep them focused and thus have a more efficient training session, but your dog will also process the information much easier than when they have high energy as they aren’t as easily distracted by exterior factors.

TIP 3: Proof your dog’s behaviour training

Training your dog in the living room or your garden is great, but it doesn’t perfectly emulate all other stimuli your dog perceives when in a live situation. Even if your dog reacts with a desired behaviour in a familiar environment, this may not be the case when presented with a novel situation filled with unfamiliarity. For example, if your dog doesn’t sprint out of your door at home when it’s opened, this doesn’t apply to other doors as they don’t have the ability to recognise a door as a door; it must be proofed!

It’s important to only start proofing once your dog is fluent in the behaviour in controlled environments, but once this is the case, proofing is essential. Here are some quick tips to help with proofing a dog’s behaviour:

  • When proofing a behaviour, only change one variable at a time.
    • This is important because introducing too many variables at once will make it difficult for your dog to learn efficiently.
  • Use the highest value treats when proofing.
    • This is because it’ll be harder to keep your dog’s attention when introducing new distractions, so often only their favourite treats will be enough to hold their attention.
  • Be very generous with treats and praise when you receive the desired behaviour.
    • This will keep your dog motivated and increase the likelihood of the behaviour being learned.

(Source for proofing: https://resources.bestfriends.org/article/how-proof-training-behaviors-dogs#:~:text=%E2%80%9CProofing%2C%E2%80%9D%20in%20dog%20training,it%20anywhere%2C%20even%20with%20distractions.)

TIP 4: Keep training sessions short and concise

Although it might be tempting to train your dog over and over until they have mastered a desired behaviour, this can be counterproductive. It can lead to your dog getting tired and frustrated, resulting in ineffective training – it’s often better to keep training sessions shorter and do more throughout the day instead of one big session. For the most effective training, keep your sessions to around 15 minutes and always try to end your training on a positive note, not allowing your dog to get frustrated.

TIP 5: Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Sometimes dogs need more training than you can provide; they are complex animals that may need a trainer with professional expertise to fix undesirable behaviours. Anxious, aggressive, or phobia-ridden dogs can be very difficult to train for someone without a lot of experience. A professional trainer can completely change your relationship & outlook on your dog and improve you and your dog’s lives for the better!

These are some of the most important tips when behaviour training your dog. Your biggest take away should be consistency – nothing happens overnight, but if you keep these tips in mind and stick at it you are certain to see results.

For more information on our residential dog training services please contact us at info@platinumk9.com or call us on 07773 479411