Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Be the Treat!
Do you have a dog who doesn't always come when you call him? Is it hard to get your dog's attention when you're out and about or in a distracting place? Does your dog forget you're there when other dogs are around? All of us with young dogs or excitable dogs can answer yes to at least one of those questions. If you can as well, then this week's training tip is for you!
In training our dogs, we use food treats to reward behaviors. This works quite well, but sometimes it just isn't enough. Along with rewarding behaviors you like using food, learn to make yourself the most fun thing in your dog's life. Learn to be the treat!
Dog's love to play, and they love to have fun. Young dogs get really distracted by, and pull toward other dogs, because other dogs are fun to play with. You can use this information to your advantage, and become your dog's source of fun. Make a list of your dog's favorite games and activities, and make yourself a part of them. This is easier than it sounds. It can be a simple as a game of fetch or tug. Many dogs love it when their owners just run around with them the way a dog would. Try combining a game fetch with a game of chase. Throw the toy, let your dog chase it, then run away and let them chase you to bring back the toy. Consider taking up a canine sport such as agility or rally-obedience.
Becoming the source of fun (becoming the treat) makes you stand out against all of the other things that young dogs are interested in or distracted by in their environment. It also deepens your relationship with your dog. Try playing with your dog more often or in new ways. Also, don't forget to use the same energy and enthusiastic body language in training that you use when you play with your dog. Finally, remember that games are one of the best ways to teach pet dog manners.
Train, have fun, and check back here for more tips! Visit the Pawsitive Partners website for videos to get your training started.