When to train

Even out enjoying the scenery, ya gotta be on your toes.  

Every time I have a new training client they ask the question "how long should I train a day?"  My reply is always the same "all the time."  Yes when you first have a dog, whether it is a puppy or an adult second hand dog; you need to step into a training mode.  It may feel uncomfortable for a bit, until it becomes second nature but keeping yourself in training mode helps to speed things a long.  So what does that mean exactly?  What it means is keeping on your toes, basically.

When people use to use conventional choke collar training; you would have a session or two during the day to do your training.  The training was intense and serious. With positive reinforcement training there are times when you are going to teach a new behavior but the rest of the day you need to stay in your 'training mode.'  Staying in your 'training mode' teaches manners and enables your dog to learn how to behave and deal with living in our human world much quicker.  What it means is that you don't let things slide.  You don't teach one thing during a training session and then allow your dog to do whatever they please the rest of the day.  They learn the rules and they learn to live with them.

So if you teach your dog physical boundaries within your home you must enforce those constantly until it just becomes how it is.  If you ask for a 'stay' or 'down' during your day to day then you must enforce it.  Don't allow your dog to run a much when you aren't in a training session.  I've met many amazingly trained dogs who were very obnoxious in their day to day.

Far too often I see people doing serious training out at the park but those same people go home and don't enforce anything.  Yes it is work to enforce, guide, lead and educate but it makes for wonderfully behaved dogs.  Some owners have more work cut out for them than others.  Not all dogs are the same, some are pushers, some can be downright obstinate.  But the more you live life in your 'training mode' the easier it gets.  Your dog quickly realizes that this is the way it is, bottom line.

I am always very impressed by a well behaved dog; even more so than a dog that has learned a million tricks.  Any dog can learn tricks but not all are given the chance to learn how to behave in their day to day lives.  A lack of guidance is failure on an owners part of the bargain.  Dogs come into our life knowing how to be dogs; it is what we love about them.  It is our job to show them how to be dogs in a human world.  I know many people who claim that "they don't tell their dog what to do."  The dog has no guidance, no direction, no assistance on making decisions.  Heck, we tell our children what to do all the time and they have the advantage over dogs in that they are already humans, albeit in the making.  Dogs are entirely different from humans so they need our help.

When I hear people saying "bad dog," (I abhor the term personally) I think "no bad owner."  More often than not, an owner has not taught their dog not to do whatever it is that they are doing wrong in the owners eyes.  So their dog is........well............being a dog and the human thinks that is bad.  What is bad is not giving our dogs the education that they need to live happily in our world.  Give your dog some guidance, step into your training mode today and don't get out of it until your dog has a handle on life in a human world.  That does not mean that you need to be "training" per say; all day, every day.  It means that you will be guiding and leading all day every day.  Got it?