Robin and I were in Lithonia last Tuesday working with a new Home Dog Training client and his English Mastiff named Merlin. Merlin was a great dog and responded very well to the obedience training that our client requested. He was walking great on the leash by the end of the session and all his jumping and nipping issues had been resolved. Out client was very excited and was ready to jump into our training program with with both feet. He asked how long he could work with Merlin every day to get him as great as possible on as many things as possible. He didn’t want to wait a second and was ready to devote as much time as possible into the process. Although we loved his enthusiasm, we needed to provide him with a word of caution. It is always a good tip to keep things slow and easy. If, for no other reason, you can see what went wrong and where you have fix it… So, isn’t “slow and easy” always the best answer?
Spoiler alert, the answer is “yes”. We humans hate that answer because we love to get things done fast. I will text you, eat fast food, take the express way, fast forward, etc., etc, etc. (see, I didn’t even write out the entire word “etcetera“)….
“Fast” doesn’t work for dogs. One of the biggest training problems Robin and I encounter is when our clients try to push too fast with the training process. They try and teach their dog something too quickly, not paying attention that the dog has no idea what they are asking. The dog doesn’t respond, the owner becomes frustrated, and the entire situation becomes a non-learning event, inconsistent event.
So, although you might not like it, here is what you have to do to succeed:
- Stop thinking like a human! There, I said it. Time to move on.
- Dogs learn through a consistent and repetitive manner. We must teach our dogs using the same process.
- To start with, you must determine what your dog can currently accomplish and what he can’t accomplish.
- Begin commanding them to demonstrate what they can accomplish.
- Slowly add complexities and distractions to the point where they begin to fail.
- HOLD ON! This is the learning horizon where the most productive instruction will take place.
- Work at this point, slowly, until your dog can make small, but observable improvements.
- Continue the process. If at any time, you see that your dog is consistently failing, back it off. You have gone too far too fast. Back it up until your dog is succeeding again. Now move forward.
When you think like a dog, it works. When you think like a human, it fails…
Please call us at (770) 718-7704 or (770) 718-7716 with all your dog training questions. We are blessed to have been your local dog training professionals for over fourteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.