The Best thing you can do for your dog is hire a professional dog trainer to help guide you through the ins and outs of creating the perfect family member for your home.Hiring a dog trainer will help you set your dog on the perfect path for success, and give you the knowledge, tools and skills to continue training for a lifetime. That is why at backcountry K-9 Training we give out our “cheat sheets” to help owners through he process and re-affirm what we talk about in our lessons. The mistake dog owners make is once they are done with their training program They only look to maintain the behaviors their dog has learned. That simply is not the case of what should be happening. Dog training should constantly be improving for your dog and wanting to increase distractions, duration, and distance. basically all that means is that we have to keep making it harder for our dogs to get their reward for excellent behavior. That does not mean not giving our dogs rewards, it means that we should be constantly asking more of our dogs to get the rewards they desire. Lets face it mental stimulation is very important to our dogs. We need to keep making obedience harder in order to keep giving our dogs the mental exercise they need. If you keep doing the same obedience routine, the dog will begin to guess the routine. It is like you taking the same test in school everyday for a year, by the end of the year you are going to be able to take the tester without reading the questions. The questions would be us asking our dogs to perform a behavior. If we are not building on the obedience our dogs have learned, we are not doing them any favors except making it extremely easy for them to get treats. What reward is more satisfying to you the one you had to work very hard for or the reward that was just given to you for a mediocre task? The one we work very hard for because it makes reward that much sweeter and releases even more dopamine in our brains. The same goes for our dogs, the more me make them work for their food the better the reward is.
Nobody wants to see their dog do really well and make a ton of progress or be perfect when done with your dog trainer that you have hired, and then six months later your dog is back to their old habits. How does this happen? It is called regression. Your dog has gone back to old habits for 2 main response most likely, one is that you never continued training and just simply hoped the dog would remember training for the rest of their lives. I notice this with dog trainers who do not really give their clients any true maintenance plan or that do not do drop-off sessions to show the client how to do the training and maintain behaviors. The other reason your dogs behaviors are returning is inappropriate or ineffective reinforcement. That means that either your are not reinforcing the behaviors at the right time or that you are not reinforcing the behaviors at all. Dogs are not robots, they cannot be programmed to do behaviors and never deviate or test new ones. If reinforcement stops coming to a dog they want to stop doing the behavior because there is no reason for them to perform well if they never get anything for being very good. If your just hope to maintain your dogs behaviors you are still going to need to reinforce them at some point, it is crucial.
Building on your investment into your dog’s behavior with a good dog trainer is one of the best ways to get the dog you always wanted. Now when your done with your dog training, the work is never over. You now should have the confidence, knowledge and ability to continually be improving and making the game harder for your dog so that the reward is that much better. What is dog obedience to the dog? A Game, think about it we are teaching them the rules of the game which we can call life. Now when building on your dogs behavior there are 3 ways in which you can make obedience harder: Distance, Duration, Distractions. These are the keys to building extremely solid dog behavior. Here is a handy table to help guide you through the 3 D’s:
Remember The first step to creating the best bond and communication with your dog is to contact a good dog trainer that can help you accomplish all your goals. Once you are done with your trainer you must continue training for the life of your dog to ensure behaviors are continuing and behaviors you do not want to occur are staying away and not coming back. There are just too many benefits of training your dog to not do it. Building upon your dogs training can lead to new and exciting adventures and experiences that every dog and dog owner have the right to enjoy. Think about eating at a cafe with your dog or hiking-off leash, the possibilities are endless with our more dog centered world but you must start with dog training for your dog to reach those lofty goals. Brining the expectations of our dogs training to new levels will allow us to continue to move forward in our dog friendly world and not start having fun activities being taken away due to un-trained and out of control dogs.