Why And How To Continuously Reinforce Your Dog’s Training
A well-trained dog is a necessity, not a luxury.” – unknown
Does he forget to sit when told to sit, or he just keeps walking when told to stay? What’s going on?
You’ve either spent money or time, or both to make sure your furry friend is well trained and socialized. Training is a learning process. Your purpose is not so much to teach your dog to do something, but rather to help him learn something. You’ve trained him to do the things that will make him a pleasure to have around and be around…basically they are the things that will please you, which is what he really wants to do. Such things as:
- Social skills
- Overcoming behavioral problems or tendencies
Why is Fido being forgetful?
Just like humans forget things, your pup can also forget his manners and some of the other things he’s been taught. Although it may appear that he is ignoring you or being disobedient, he’s really not. Most likely something in his world has changed that may have distracted him.
It’s helpful for you to be aware of and understand what’s going on to cause him to “forget” his training. Watch for things like:
- Pain or illness
- Something that is making him fearful or stressed.
- He could be getting older and is having trouble hearing or with memory loss.
- His environment may have changed and it makes him uncomfortable.
Daily practices that will help your dog remember his training…
Although you may have completed your basic training program, practice and repetition can help keep your dog from forgetting. It’s important that you always use the same words, motions and/or sounds that you used when you were teaching him, and be consistent with your expectations…if you’ve taught Fido to “sit” while his food is being prepared, be sure he does it everytime.
These ideas are simple, but effective, won’t require a lot of time and can be done throughout the day.
- Work on your dog’s self-restraint by giving him boundaries throughout the day and having him “stay” and “sit” at doorways, gates, before leaving the car or crossing the street.
- Spontaneously call Fido to come to you, not because you want him to do anything, then reward him with a hug and maybe a treat.
- Not for any specific reason, take the opportunity once or twice a day to have your dog “stay” in place until you release him. Be sure there are plenty of hugs and pats on the head once he is told he is free to go.
- Make playtime work for you. Use a game or a toy that your dog enjoys as an incentive. Give your dog a command, and when he obeys, use the ball or tug toy to reward him. This is a great way to teach and engage with your pup.
- Make dinnertime practice time…prepare Fido’s bowl, but before setting it down for him, have him obey a command or two.
Consider your dog’s training as ongoing education, and enjoy the learning process.
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