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Tips for Obedience Training

15 Feb 2023

One of the factors which most distinguishes dogs from wolves is their uncommon intelligence and ability to learn. Although other animals have a high capacity for learning and even creative problem solving, dogs are unique in how their capabilities have been developed alongside humans in a way which ultimately serves our needs. Trainability is very much an owner’s responsibility to develop and maintain, and regular obedience work is an excellent way of doing so. Here are some tips we hope will help you improve the obedience training you can offer your dog:
1. Be realistic about your dog’s capacity for learning and attention span. A Working German Shepherd or Dobermann is likely to be far more willing and able to learn, retain, and demonstrate the commands you have taught it than most Bulldogs, Mastiffs, or Afghan Hounds. All dogs can be trained, but their individual abilities should be accounted for and respected. If your dog has a smaller capacity for learning, we recommend managing your expectations and keeping training sessions suitably short. Less is more with such dogs
2. Keep things fun! Dogs work best when offered positive incentives to perform specific tasks. Dogs will work harder when they have been conditioned to expect a high-value reward for performing on command. While this may be a particular foodstuff, toy, or even praise and petting, owners should identify what their dog views as high-value and use this to incentivise desired behaviours
3. Little but often is more effective than long and infrequent. Obedience can be developed as a habit to the point when a dog becomes so conditioned that little thought or consideration is given to obeying a command. Even sessions lasting less than a minute are valuable if built into regular intervals during your dog’s day around usual activities, i.e. sitting before being allowed to eat or waiting for permission before passing through a threshold

An experienced trainer or dog behaviourist will always be the best port of call for advice on Effective Obedience Training. We offer a bespoke training service for owners of all dogs. To book an initial consultation or training session, please email [email protected].

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