Dog training comes with homework..? Huh?
Two of the most common questions we get about dog training is, “How long is this going to take and how much is it going to cost me? It’s true that society today has cultivated us to be expect results “now” and at the best price. But how can we expect our dogs to change their behaviors overnight when it’s those very behaviors that have been unknowingly encouraged and accepted for so long?
Anyone who has a dog understands the “honeymoon” phase that comes with a dog. Oh, the joy and excitement that comes from having a new dog! It’s new and rewarding, they’re so cute, and you just can’t help but let things slide. Little do you know, as the new owner, that your dog is fully aware of its new home and environment, ready to challenge their boundaries that have yet to be established. This is the natural course of a dog. That is why it is so important for pet owners to be the leader, otherwise the dog will because of their instincts as pack animals, which requires direction, input, and leadership from you, the owner.
They are on their best behavior and seem to respond to you well, only to escalate their behavior on occasion, or get into trouble. It’s those times, few and far between, where they do make bad decisions, but the behavior doesn’t get interrupted or stopped. That results in long lasting, behavioral patterns that require intervention and training.
How long is training going to take? How much is it going to cost you? Ultimately, that’s up to you. Dog’s that have aggression issues are going to need more time, and therefore more money, than dogs who just need to learn basic obedience. What’s important to you is making your dog a better part of your life and family, right? So, shouldn’t the real questions be “What training is going to make my dog better?” and, “What do I need to do to help my dog be the best they can be?”
You don’t have to do a lot of training right from the get-go. We understand that scheduling a lot of training sessions may not be financially possible, so that shifts the focus to the real question again, “What do I need to do to help my dog be the best it can be?”.
Schedule your dog for as much training as you can, and then follow through with the homework given to you by the trainer. Yes, homework. Training a dog to change its behavior isn’t just work for the dog, it’s work for the owner too. You need to know when it’s the right time to correct a behavior and reward the dog for responding to you. You’d be surprised at how often dogs are rewarded for an undesirable behavior because the owner simply gets the timing wrong of giving the dog a treat or petting it, thus encouraging the undesirable behavior! Timing is everything and a professional dog trainer will help you see the seconds in between desirable and undesirable behavior, and when to reward your dog for the first and not the latter.
One of the biggest issues that we struggle with as trainers is getting dog owners to follow through with the training techniques taught. Otherwise we see them again 6 months later and we’re starting from the beginning again. Just like in school, we always dreaded being given homework but we knew that it would help (we would never admit that though..). Well, you can expect the same when you schedule dog training, so follow through and do the homework. It will help your dog exponentially!
Hopefully it’s the follow through combined with the results that will help more dog owners shift from “how long and how much” to “what training is best and what can I do?”
At the end of the day, what makes it worth it is seeing how much training really does benefit dogs. It makes them healthier, happier, and more enjoyable. It also creates a better bond and relationship with you, the owner, as there is now a better line of communication between dog and owner.
Training is a lifelong journey that starts happening every day. Dogs enjoy knowing what is expected through clear input from you, their owner. A simple change in focus can make all the difference in your dog.
So, tell us: How did your dog’s training experience make your dog a better pet?