What To Do When You Get Stuck In A Training Rut?
Apart from having fun, getting exercise and meeting news friends (four-legged and two-legged alike), one of the main reasons for training sessions is to make progress and achieve goals. But when you’ve been training for a while, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut.
That can leave you and your dog feeling frustrated and disappointed. And it’s a sure fire way to stop you enjoying training sessions. So what can you do about it?
Our in-house dog training expert Matt Rouse has shared his best advice to help you find your groove again…
Read the signs
One of the problems lots of dog owners have is that they don’t realise they are stuck in a rut to begin with, so it’s important to know the signs to look out for.
Matt says: ‘A dog that suddenly becomes easily distracted during sessions or has stopped getting excited has usually lost interest in training. It’s at that point that it’s up to the owner to take action and rethink their game plan.’
Move on to something else
If your dog has been struggling with a certain skill or trick for sometime, and you just don’t seem to be making progress no matter what you try, it could be time to move on to something else.
Matt says: ‘A change is as good as a rest sometimes, and coming back to trying a certain skill after a break can be all it takes to reinvigorate things.’
Accept your dog’s limitations
Just like humans, all dogs have different personalities and different talents. That means some dogs are particularly well suited to learning complex tricks while others might be better suited to high-stamina sports like flyball.
Matt says: ‘Working with a professional trainer is a great way to help you assess your dog’s strengths and weaknesses – and you can then use this information to keep training sessions exciting and interesting. It’s important not to push a dog into doing something that just isn’t for them.’
Set new challenges
Do you follow the same old training routine every time? Maybe it’s time to mix things up a bit.
Matt says: ‘Dogs are intelligent animals and, once a new technique has been mastered, it’s important to keep setting them new challenges to avoid getting stuck in a rut and feeling bored. It’s worth sitting down every few weeks and assessing how far you’ve come, and what the next target should be.’
Re-stock your training toys
If your bag of training toys is looking a bit old and tired, it could be time to splash out on some new ones.
Matt says: ‘Consider what your dog is motivated by. It could be food, it could be the smell of real fur, it could be a good old fashioned tennis ball. Use training toys that incorporate these (we’ve designed a whole range that does exactly that). A specialist dog training toy like one from the Tug-E-Nuff selection can help you get out of a training slump and achieve new goals, while having lots of fun too.’
Want to know more about which Tug toys are best for increasing motivation? Check out this blog for a handy run down.