Want to train your puppy or dog quickly? Then go slowly & keep a smile on your face!
When we were starting out with Willow we always tried to create a training environment that was safe, happy and relaxed. We found that our garden or a room at home was much more effective than the park or a field when delivering first training lessons. We believe that how your dog feels is far more important than the first responses they give. With happiness, contentment and lots of hard work the responses slowly but surely start to change.
Always remember that good behaviour comes from positive reinforcement and reward. Never punishment. Oh yes and a bucketful of healthy, tasty treats helps too!
A great place to start with your puppy or dog is eye contact. This is really important between you and your dog, as no attention means no control and no understanding of what you want. We let our dogs give eye contact by saying their name and when they respond we mark their behaviour by saying ‘good’. Then immediately rewarding their great behaviour with a treat they love. It is really important to always use ‘high value’ treats for training. The tastier and smellier the better to reinforce the behaviour we want. We can refer to the treat as a ‘primary re-inforcer’ that rewards this response. By marking the behaviour of the eye contact every single time with a treat will help to shape their behaviour going forward.
We keep our training sessions short and sweet – about 5 to 10 minutes maximum. Always try and make it fun and celebrate success with lots of fuss, treats and cuddles.