Aspiring to Better Dog Obedience

Action is the Key

I use to be on one of those public weight loss programs.  I joined it with my best friend many years ago, and let me just say IT WORKED.  Why?  You ask, why did it work?  What was the secret to weight loss?  Accountability! Is the answer.

I will say it gave us so great knowledge and coping skills and together we had a peer group and a support system to rely.  All of this ensured that we were successful!  We had to weigh-in in front of someone every 2 days.   They were NEVER negative at the weigh-ins and never gave us a hard time about gaining or not losing they were always supportive and willing to give us support and more information when we needed it.

What does weight loss have to do with dog training?  Accountability!

The reason my weight loss program worked?  I had to weigh-in in front of someone every other day, and although they were not negative about our weigh-ins; I did not want to fail or even stay the same.  I felt like I HAD to show progress.  I had a goal and my long term goal was to lose weight, but my short term goal was to not be embarrassed on the scale every 2 days!

Accountability makes a HUGE difference, at least for me.  If I am left to my own devices, I might not choose the right road.  I often get lazy and put off things like: dog training or weight loss.  I always have tomorrow, right?

In order to run every day, I need to train for a half marathon or marathon and put smaller goals on my calendar.

I think it is human nature to put off what we don’t see as “ESSENTIAL” on a daily basis.  We fall into habits and habits are hard to break.

But, like my weight loss program, if I have a training “goal” I will do what I have to do to reach that goal.

Recently, I signed up for a dog training seminar and I was going to stay with a dog trainer friend of mine.  I shudder to admit that I don’t do “scheduled obedience” everyday like I need to.  I am human and often let dog training go by the wayside and get involved in “life” and all its complications like everyone else.

BUT, I didn’t want to show up to the seminar with crazy, psychotic dogs!  I AM a dog trainer after all! So every day for several weeks I made an effort to take my furry kids out and work on obedience and their other training skills.

Classes can Motivate You to Take Action

Within a few days they were listening better and we were working together as a team.  I was “The Dog Trainer” again!  They were stimulated and enjoying our daily appointments to go outside, work, and play!  AND, they were too tired to get into trouble or drive me crazy at night!

It was then that I realized, I personally, need accountability!  I need an obedience class, a seminar, an obedience title or some big goal to train toward.  When I have a goal, I make a sincere effort to reach that goal!

So, from now on I am going to train like “a dog trainer” or train as if I am going to compete!

So my advice to you?

Train like you are going into a competition next week!

That means take some time every day to take your best friend out and work on his obedience skills or play together using control games so that he gets use to listening to you!

It does not take long to see a difference.  5 minutes a day is all it will take for you to see a distinct difference in how much your dog is willing to listen to you and obey your commands.

Imagine if you will: living with your children, but never really interacting with them or having them do anything for you.  Do you think they would respect you when you ask them to do something for you?  Now, add a language barrier…that would make the odds of them obeying even less likely.

However, if you make an effort to learn their language, spend time with them, bond with them, be kind, and teach them what to do to make you happy…chances are you will have a successful relationship.

I know that my dog’s lack of willingness to listen is in direct proportion to how much I take him out and work with/play with him!

  • Make a goal to compete togetherThe Reward of Play can Make Training Even More FUN!
  • Challenge your best friend or neighbor to a train off
  • Take an obedience or other type of dog training class
  • Join a dog training club
  • Just schedule time to train each night

Don’t get lazy (like me), just do it!  Get out there and train with your dog every day!  I promise that you will see an improvement almost immediately.  And, I will be taking my own advice!  So I’m outta here, grabbin’ my dog to go get some training and play in before dark!

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Comments

  1. Laura Williams says:

    Great motivational blog today. I also put training off. I’m not sure if it is because I’m too tired, or too overwhelmed having 5. My boyz are well behaved to a certain degree when they are behind our fence. I want to be able to take them out into public wihtout any incident…jumping, licking, barking, being a pest…I need to get moving on my training!

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    Minette Reply:

    Carve out a little time each day, even if its 5 minutes. I understand you may not be able to separate them all EVERY day for training, but give them each one day a week of one on one time with mom! They will LOVE it!! Then you can also work on individual specific issues, and when you put them together with the other boyz 😉 hopefully what you worked on individually will shine through 🙂 Good luck…and I miss them 😉

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    Debbie Koop Reply:

    Good advice, Minette!

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  2. Deborah says:

    True words, I too need accountability to help me stay focused!

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  3. Lisa G. says:

    Outstanding post, and overall blog is great as well! I’ve also found that my Border Collie pays much better attention to his training if I give him my undivided attention on a daily basis.

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  4. So how do you practice obedience?My dog knows most commands and will do them. She gets tired of doing the same thing over and over. I get her out a couple times a day but she’s to hot to play. (she’s an outside dog) So how does practicing obedience work?
    Thanks,
    Carinna

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    Minette Reply:

    Make it fun, if its not a toy add food and rewards. ACT like you are having fun and she will enjoy it!. Speed up, slow down, jog while you are heeling and working on leash commands. Add a sit while you are jogging to keep her mind busy. Just make it fun!

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    Carinna Burnett Reply:

    Aren’t you suppose to wean off of food rewards? Or just start surprising them? Also do you have any tips on how to get my dog to focus on me while heeling? Sometimes I don’t mind if she’s just staying in position. Other times I want her to pay attention to me. I don’t have the money to spend on a dvd and I don’t know how to do it. She’ll heel but is very bored while doing so if I’m just practicing. If I’m on a walk then she will just try to stay at the position not paying any attention to me for the most part. If I say her name then she’ll sometimes look at me. I’m 14 and this is our first dog. I’ve got lots of brothers and sisters.
    Carinna

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    Minette Reply:

    For the most part you wean them off of treats once they know the task, however randomly rewarding them for a job well done keeps their skills sharp. So, I never totally stop using food. Depending on their level of training I may reward every 12 time or more, or once a week… it just depends on what we are talking about. I try and almost always reward them for “Come” because it is such an important command.

    This intermittent reinforcement keeps things exciting http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/intermittent-reinforcement-building-dog-training-foundation/

    Go back through and read my blog. The one on Schutzhund, and obedience training in drive will help you to get her focus.

    Make it fun!! Training has to be exciting and entertaining for her in order for her to not be bored. Change your pace, play games and have fun together and you will see her willingness to look at you more often.

    Also remember that unless there is A LOT of reward most dogs will not continually focus on you. Focus requires total trust in you that she will not run into something, or trip over something, or just miss seeing the squirrel. Focus goes against most dog’s instincts. So you must work small and short, and then work your way up.

    It is crucial that a dog be able to do both…if I am walking for 45 minutes it is not feasible for my dog to look at me the entire time.

    However if I am working on competition style obedience, 1 or 2 minutes is amazing! I use a whole different word for this type of focused heel. That way my dog knows if she/he can look around and “be a dog” or if we are working toward perfection! I hope this helps you!

    Good luck!! More on drive and focus to come!

  5. Bev says:

    I find it hard to work with my dogs just because there are FOUR of them and it’s so hard to split myself up into four pieces. I am tired and busy with family so I have to make a real commitment to spending time with each of them. Especially one young female who is jealous of the other female and makes her life miserable. I will try to do that one day a day training and see what happens and if anyone has advice on the jealous female problem I’d appreciate your feedback. Thanks!

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  6. Barbara McWha says:

    Very inspiring! Thanks for the reminder… Like you, I tend to put off the weight-loss and dog training. Tomorrow I’ll start with my 5 minutes and work up! Thanks again for your wonderful blog. It really is very helpful.

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  7. TOM says:

    ONE THING I’VE NOTICED IS MOST DOG’S ARE VERY YOUNG OR PUP’S BEING TRAINED HERE. I HAVE A 100# MALE MUSCULAR GSP AGE 7, AND CAN STILL JUMP A 4 FOOT FENCE.WE’VE HAD HIM FOR TWO YEARS AND IN TWO OBEDIENCE SCHOOLS. ONE SCHOOL BEING WORTHLESS. I WAS TEMPTED TO SHIP HIM OFF TO A K-9 BOOT CAMP IN CHICAGO, BUT HE SEEMS TO BE COMING AROUND WITH CONSISTANT COMANDS AND REWARDS. OUR LAST GSP, A FEMALE LAST FOR 18 YEAR’S. THE BIG BOY NOW IS VERY LOVEABLE AND A WOMAN’S PET, YET BULL HEADED AS NOT TO JUMP UP ON SOMEONE AS HE WILL KNOCKED THEM DOWN FROM HIS SIZE. I DON’T BELIEVE IN SWINGING A DOG ON A CHOKER I SAW DONE IN ONE SCHOOL, NOR STEPING ON HIS TOES TO KEEP HIM DOWN. SO FAR i GIVE A DOWN COMMAND THEN RAISE MY KNEE AS HE CHARGES WHICH USUSALLY BACKS HIM DOWN. ANY OTHER TIPS FOR A BIG NEW DOG A FEW YEARS OLD? THANK YOU. TOM

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    Minette Reply:

    http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/dog-fly-air-greatest-ease/

    see if that helps

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  8. Peter Gobel says:

    This is a great blog, I would like to share it with my clients.

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  9. Louse says:

    Hi, maybe someone can help me. i have 4 month old maltese puppy. house training has been the biggest hurdle, at night he poops in the lounge carpet but peepee’s on the potty training mat. i am not sure why he does that… i told him repeatedly where to go…i even wake up in the middle of the night to take him. please help…

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  10. hill robinson says:

    thanks for the reminder i know my dogs love being with me so here we go

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  11. Debbie Koop says:

    Thanks for the reminder of “putting things off.” I scolded myself for at least not “trying,” to take my dog in public because he’s so friendly and busy all the time, when the fact is, he gets excited for lack of experience and repetition. We have feed and hardware stores that welcome our dogs, so I “bucked up” and took him in knowing he can have a rude nose at times:o) Once the initial newness wore off, he was attentive, staying by the shopping cart on heal and sitting when I stopped. Of course, all the dog food bags and bone boxes had to be inspected for freshness! He did sit and stay in line, sat for a treat from the checker and got the gig on the electric door! There’s folks everywhere that don’t care for dogs but I’m not going to worry to much about them, keep him away and take him again. Someday, it’ll be “old hat.” Don’t put off the new stuff.

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    Minette Reply:

    Excellent!! Good for you!! Repetition is wonderful for building good obedience and helping the excitement wear off a bit

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  12. sharon bews says:

    Hi i have one year old austrailain shepherd/border collie cross a very high energy dog i am having a few problem with him at the moment when anyone comes and visits he jumps up on them and has started nipping them and wont listen to you when you you tell him to stop he has only started the nipping bit since he was castrated so i dont know if that has made him worse and when you take him out for a walk and let him of the lead he does not listen to you if you tell him to come back and when he sees other dogs he play fights with them but also nips them i have a dog trainer in helping me and he is better at some things but i want to stop the nipping and jumping up is there advice you can give me to stop him doing it as it is getting to the stage where nobody can come to my house and i am thinking of looking for a new home for him which i really dont want to do so any advice would be appreciated thanks

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