After graduating from the Seattle School of Canine Studies, I was given a chance to assist teaching public classes at Dogworks Studio in Seattle, and became immediately hooked. I love it because it gives me the opportunity to work with up to 12 different families and their dogs in one hour sessions. As you can imagine this allows me to rack up a lot of instructional experience in a short amount of time and the constant barrage of questions really helps keep me on my toes. This is a list of the most common advice that I give to people who are new to training.
Expect to get dirty and don’t wear your best clothes. Pack hand sanitizer or wipes when training outside your home.
Pay your dog off well for correct behavior. Worry about getting your dog's attention to train first, and phase treats out later.
More treats = more smelly = more interesting to your dog.
Try a variety of treats to find out which your dog responds best to in distracting environments. Penny for pound home cooked meats can often be cheaper than commercially made training treats.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the reward ready, capturing the moment is essential. If you say “YES” by mistake still pay the dog off.
“GOOD JOB! GOOD DOG! THANK YOU! GOOD BOY! GOOD GIRL!” etc.
Training takes time, some dogs learn faster or slower than others and some behaviors are harder to train than others.
If you are tense or frustrated your dog will be too. Take a break from training if you feel tense. Be clear and firm in your direction, but don't bark orders or be aggressive.
The most common mistake people make when training is trying to achieve too much too fast. If you find your dog suddenly not obeying your command, back up a few steps to a point where you know your dog will succeed and start over from there.
A hungry dog is more focused and ready to work. Keep the size of your training treats small (pea sized) so your dog doesn't fill up and lose interest.
Keep your sessions short or break up long sessions with play. Several 3-5 minute training sessions can be more effective and fun for your dog than one long one.
Make the last exercise something you know your dog will succeed at. I like to have a few minutes of playtime after every training session as an added incentive.
HAVE FUN TRAINING! - August Henrich, CCS
One Dog at a Time does not currently offer group classes though we are exploring our options to do so. If you have any questions about this blog or anything else dog related please don't hesitate to contact us.
Links: Seattle Dogworks