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Barbara's Babies Dog Obedience School

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Motivation and Imagination in Training

Training with our dogs is meant to be a fun and enjoyable experience for both the dog and the human counterpart. Often though we find one or both parties becoming bored, frustrated and restless. How can we ensure that we keep the process fun, intriguing and effective?

Variety - the spice of life right? 

  •  Change your routine - we tend to get into a habit of practicing certain things in patterns, for example; come, sit and down are often asked for in a repetitive pattern and sometimes this leads to a dog who will anticipate what's next and move on without you, lol. You can also change the place in which you tend to practice with your dog. If you tend to practice on one room or the backyard, try a different area of the house or even a quiet park for some variety!
  •  practice something new - add a new trick or command to your routine and get your pups brain thinking! You can add simple tricks like shake hands, spin or rollover to spice it up. Try practicing with a different tone of voice; we often speak in our "in charge" voice when training our dogs, but they really do respond to any tone when they understand what your asking. We like to use our "whisper" voices for a fun way to practice listening skills.
  • change up your rewards - Imagine your favorite treat, now imagine you only get that same treat every single time you want a treat... uhm, eventually it loses it's appeal right? Same for your dog and the training rewards you use. It is a good idea to have a variety of different food rewards to offer, remember different taste, texture, and size. It is also a great idea to have a favorite toy or two that you can pop out and surprise reward them with! When you start to add playtime into the training process, it opens a whole new world of thought for your dog about how important and fun you are! You may be surprised at how much more your dog pays attention to you when things are unpredictable and exciting!
  • Invite a friend! - as humans we also tend to get bored with the same dull routine, day after day. Invite a friend to join you in a training session, or a nice walk with your dog and theirs as well if everyone gets along. The benefits will abound for everyone, from working among different distractions to sharing successes together!
  • Work at a different pace: you may find yourself moving slowly, trying to get your dog to focus and get things just right, for some reason your dog is not paying attention, sniffing everywhere and its not much fun. Try a quick change of pace, find some hidden energy to suddenly burst into excited and happy movements and sounds, encourage your pup with their commands and lots of praise and watch how the entire process suddenly lights up and looks good!

When  you find your training practice becoming less and less important or inviting, think outside the box, get creative, add in games and try new places, building the bond with your dog is soo well worth all the effort and soon you will find it is always something you are looking forward to, on to the next adventure!

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