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Dog Training Isn’t Just For Half an Hour a Week: It’s For Life

A common mistake that people make is they take their dog to the training session for each week and then do nothing with them until the following week at the training centre. This is all very well and good, but do you really think that your dog is going to remember all the commands and respond well if you just practice once a week?

The problem is, not only do a lot of people only work on actual training once a week, they also don't consistently use the commands they are taught. So the dog gets confused and starts to misbehave in the eyes of their owner. They aren't misbehaving, they just don't know what you want.

Imagine you are learning to drive a car. You are told to use the accelerator pedal in conjunction with the clutch, find biting point then slowly release the clutch to move off. Ok, that will work. But the next time you get in the car you are told to repeatedly jump both feet on the brake. The car begins to kangaroo and instead of a nice smooth drive, you are not moving anywhere because the car keeps stalling.

Now, if you were a fully qualified and experienced driver, you would be able to tell the other person to be quiet. You would know that their instructions were not going to work and you would feel confident that you are doing the right thing because you know how to drive.

Your dog does not know how to behave until you tell it what you want.

They have learnt the commands during class, received their rewards and praise, they feel good and are loving the attention and positive feedback. Then they get home, they forget something and get shouted at because they get it 'wrong'. Now the dog is confused, he or she doesn't understand what they did. You've just told them to stamp on the brake.

However, if every single time you give the same command, praise and reward in the same way and consistently do this, then your dog will begin to understand what is expected of them. You will remove confusion and your dog, rather than running away because they are scared of you, will be eager to please you.

Also, using the driving analysis again, you wouldn't expect to have one driving lesson and then take your driving test and pass it with flying colours. So why do you expect your dog to do only one dedicated training session and understand what you want it to do the next time you ask it?

Dedicate a small amount of time every day to continuing your dog training practices with your dog. Keep them short so that the dog doesn't become tired or bored, but do them regularly and consistently. Only by repeating the training every day will you get the results you want from your dog.

A well trained dog is a happy dog which makes a happy owner.

The other thing with consistency is that you must be consistent with your requirements of your dog. You can't allow it on the sofa for a cuddle, then shout at it for jumping on there when it is covered in mud and soaking wet from a walk. To the dog, this is confusing. It does not know the difference between being dry and clean and wet and dirty, all it knows is that it is allowed on the furniture, but for some reason you are now cross with it.

Dogs are like children, they need educating in the polite etiquette of social norms. They need boundaries. They need consistency and they need love.

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