Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Use It Or Lose It!

There's nothing better than a well trained dog.  Life is so much easier when your four legged friend has great manners, loves people, obeys the 'house rules' and follows all your cues.   The process takes time, but once you've arrived, it's a beautiful thing!  The challenge then is to maintain the training because quite simply, "if you don't use it you'll lose it".  If you don't maintain the skills you've worked so hard to train, they will begin to fade away and be replaced by less desirable behaviors.

It's easy to let your training backslide, busy schedules, work, activities, etc.   It can be hard to keep yourself on track much less fit Fido into your busy schedule. 

How do you know when your training is backsliding?  It's pretty easy to figure out.
  • you find yourself feeling frustrated with your dog
  • your once responsive pooch is paying little, if any, attention to you
  • your dog stops responding to cues they were quick to respond to in the past
  • they become much more vocal or demanding of your attention
  • their house manners have gone out the window, they are replaced with counter surfing, jumping on guests, digging, chewing, stealing
  • your dog thinks his name is NO!
  • you question why you ever got a dog
  • you blame the dog or the training method for the breakdown in behavior
Getting back on track won't be as hard as you think.
  • dust off your clicker and put it to work
  • practice the skills your dog learned in class, it will come flooding back
  • reward/reinforce appropriate behaviors, positive attention is always better than negative attention
  • find time for daily short/fun training sessions
  • remind yourself why you got a dog, to be a friend and companion
The good news is your dog will be ready and willing to spend time with you!

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