Dog training can be made a bit easier if you look at it as simple problem solving. If you’ve been training and working with dogs in sports for a while, this may be old hat, but we have noticed many people not understanding how much trouble dogs have understanding things they are supposed to be doing. Maybe this quick lesson will help a few folks “click” better with their dogs.For us with our training and sports, it is all about solving a problem, and taking problems in small steps. Once we figured out this piece to training, things have gone better. Imagine teaching a child math. Give them a problem like 3+5+1+18= If the child is new to math, they have no idea how to tackle the problem. If you yell, tell them it is simple so they must be stupid, and keep demanding they solve it, the child won’t learn. The child will feel bad, and develop a fear of math and perhaps a fear you. The same is true with teaching dogs. You have to break the task up into small pieces, and then put them all together later.
Start with something simple like “sit”. A puppy has no idea what you are talking about when you look and say sit. Break it up into small pieces, saying the word, helping them get their furry behind on the floor, show lots of love and reward for each little accomplishment and they will learn so fast. Have you noticed how happy and proud your dog is after learning something new? I am always so proud when I find hides in nose work, there is no missing how proud I am! If you aren’t in the mood, or don’t have the time, don’t train.
Dogs of all ages love to learn new things and they will show you how proud them are with happy tail wags. If you are working on more advanced training in obedience or dog sports, think about why your dog isn’t “getting it”. Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over if it isn’t working. Take a step back to the basics to remind your dog what you expect of them and then teach them slowly. You will be amazed at how much quicker your dog learns.
We see too often people getting mad at their dogs who aren’t doing exactly what they are supposed to do. Remember too, puppies have a short attention span and should be taught in short, fun training sessions. Getting mad is not the right approach. Step back. Figure out why the dog is having a problem. Come up with a plan to help them better understand. Dog training is really just problem solving and team work.