Michael Baugh CDBC, CPDT-KSA
What gets in the way of helping our dogs change their behavior? Of course we need to know how to train our dogs. We have to learn new skills. Our dogs do too. But that’s really not the big obstacle. Our dogs and we humans are actually good learners. What really gets in the way?
We think training takes too much time, and we think we don’t have enough time to do it. How do we get around that?
A lot of dogs are very fast learners, even dogs who have some behavior related to fear and aggression. We can lay out a plan to teach them essential skills (often quite simple skills) to help them handle life in our crazy human world with a bit more, shall we say, grace.
There are lots of things we can teach our dogs using clicker training that take very little time, a matter of weeks if not days.
- Eye contact and attentiveness. This takes next to no time.
- Settling down on a mat. We can shape this behavior very quickly.
- Following us / Coming when called. It trains quickly.
Of course we humans need to learn how to train these things, and that can take a bit of time. The good news is we human learners can pick things up as quickly as our dogs do. I’ve found that the Online Training Journal really helps speed up the learning process for us humans. Clients who log daily training activities give me a chance to coach clients daily and keep the process on track. That’s a huge time-saver in the long run.
More Awareness – Less Time
Once we teach some basic skills, maintaining (even sharpening) that training can take next to no time at all. We don’t have to schedule any training sessions at all (or very few). We just have to be more aware.
One of my best clients is helping her dog, Harley, adjust to having a new baby in the home. All day long, while my client is being a busy mom, she pays attention to what Harley does. And, throughout the day she praises and treats all the things Harley does well. It’s awesome. She actually keeps a log of all the great things she reinforces throughout the day and reports the results on her Online Training Journal.
- Harley waited patiently while I made lunch – praise and treats
- Harley rested quietly outside the nursery – praise an treats
- Harley gave us extra space when I asked him to back up – praise and treats.
- Harley played nicely with the other dog – verbal praise
Yes, she spent some time early on clicker training and teaching Harley some nice manners. But, how much time is this busy mom spending with training now? None. She’s just more aware. She’s training all the time as the day unfolds.
It’s a good thing she has this system worked out. We just learned a few days ago that she’s expecting a second baby. She’s going to need the extra time.
Michael Baugh CDBC, CPDT-KSA teaches dog training in Katy and Houston, TX.