How long and how often should I train my dog?
I think that most of us pet parents would like well-mannered dogs. Behaviors such as jumping up, mouthing, inconsistent house training can be frustrating and embarrassing. Manners such as doing basic cues and walking on a leash can sometimes seem unattainable. Not to mention who has the time to train their dog every day?
What if I said, you are already training your dog daily? Maybe not with specific time set aside to work with your dog, but through your daily routine and how you respond to their behaviors. You see, your dog is always watching you, learning, deciding what behaviors are worth their effort.
Every day your routine gives your dog information. The goal is to be giving them the correct information. For example, when you put your shoes on and grab the leash, if your dog really enjoys walks, they will likely get very excited (unless they are fearful on walks, but that is a future blog topic). Through classical conditioning (think Pavlov) your dog has learned that your shoes and leash, equals a walk outside. In my home, I have teenage boys that drive and when my labs hear the Life360 tone that means my boys have completed a drive, they immediately run to the front door expecting to see the boys walk in the house. Over time, with hearing the Life360 tone, paired with my boys coming in the house, they have been classically conditioned. At times, the tone is set off with my boys arriving somewhere other than home, but my dogs still run to the door.
Since we are always training our dogs, it is important that we are mindful of what responses we feel are acceptable. Dogs jumping up are often given attention either positive or negative which can reinforce that behavior (again, another training blog topic).
Training is actually integrated into your dog’s daily routine. Yes, when learning new cues, there will be time to set aside to teach the new cue. However, dogs learn better with short, positive sessions mixed throughout the day.
If you would like to be more intentional with training your dog, reach out to us to set up an initial consultation. In the consultation, we determine your goals and expectations for your dog and then personalize a training program that works best for your family and your dog.
Alison Patrolia, CVT, SDC
Licensed Family Paws Parent Educator
Elite Fear Free Certified Professional