January has absolutely flown by! You may have started the year as you meant to go on by embarking on dry January or veganuary but what about the resolutions you made to have a better trained or behaved dog?
Did they quickly go out of the window with the dark, cold nights and horrible winter weather? It can be really disheartening to go out and get training with your dog. However, don’t put it off for the rest of the year and wait until the next new year to revisit your goals!
The quicker you get started with even making the smallest change with your dog the quicker you will start to see a difference. Training sessions do not have to be hours long they can be as quick as five minutes or in the time it takes your kettle to boil. Give yourself an easy task to teach your dog and really focus on building foundations for your dog then practice them as much as possible when you take your dog out for a walk. Make the most out of your dog’s walk to spend time training with them think about how you can make it more interactive and stimulating so that when your dog comes home they are more likely to be tired and rest.
You can even give them little tasks to do whilst you are at home on their own such as scatter feeding, or an interactive feeding puzzles to help keep them occupied. Scent work is a really easy way to keep your dog’s mind busy and is an instinctive behaviour for them to perform. If your dog does 20 minutes of sniffing it equals and hours walk so it is a really worthwhile activity to do together and is easy to set up and do.
Create yourself some easy goals to achieve and give yourself a deadline to work towards as this can motivate you to achieve your goal. Stick a note to the fridge and each time you practice write down how your dog has done so you can see their progress this is a great way to see that the training you practice pays off with your dog.
Choose a behaviour that will help in other areas of your dog’s training. I recommend thinking about what you would like your dog to do instead of the behaviour that you don’t quite like. Think of a task that the dog can do that you like and can reinforce making it a stronger behaviour than the one you don’t want.
Reinforcement and rewards are important as the more you reward the behaviour you want the more the dog will display it. Pay well you can use a part of your dog’s daily diet or calculate how much diet you have used in the treats you give so you are sticking with your dog’s daily food allowance. However, rewards do not always have to involve food have a look at what your dog enjoys this can take a bit of detective work and try and think about how you can incorporate it into your reward schedule.
If you would like help with getting your dogs behaviour or how to get started with your training goals please do not hesitate to ask any questions.