It’s that time of year again when everyone starts talking about New Year’s resolutions.
But here at Tug-E-Nuff Dog Gear, we’re not fussed about gym memberships and faddy diets.
What’s on our minds is helping you make 2017 your best year of dog training yet.
Here are our top tips to get you started…
- Keep training sessions short
Just like humans, dogs can only concentrate properly for short periods of time.
Tug-E-Nuff’s resident training expert Matt Rouse says: ‘The ideal training session should last no longer than around 15 minutes. For young puppies, or rescue dogs that are new to training, it could be even less.
‘Pushing a dog to train for any longer than this will result in both of you getting frustrated, so make sure you include lots of breaks if you want to see real progress.’
- Don’t be too emotional
When your dog finally ‘gets’ a certain behaviour – or simply refuses to co-operate – it can be easy to let your feelings, good or bad, show. But many experts believe being overly emotional during your dog training can be detrimental.
Matt says: ‘It’s not that lots of praise and encouragement isn’t a good thing – it most definitely is! It’s the negative emotions we have to keep in check.
‘Remember, all dog’s train most effectively when positive reinforcement is used. Punishment – even just shouting – just doesn’t work.’
- Work on YOUR confidence before your dog’s
You don’t need us to tell you that dogs are intuitive creatures. When you lack confidence in your training, they can sense it – and you’ll probably find they are much less responsive and more easily distracted.
Matt says: ‘For a dog to train effectively, you have to appear confident and in charge. Confidence inspires confidence, after all.
‘The good news is, this is something you can fake if you’re not quite feeling it. So walk with purpose. Stand up straight and use a firm, clear voice.
- Mix things up
They say a change is as good as a rest, and this can also be true when it comes to dog training.
Matt says: ‘If you’re dog is anything like mine, he has a favourite dog training toy that he simply never gets bored of. That’s great if it gets results, but in my experience, bringing a new toy into the mix once in a while can reinvigorate both the dog and its trainer.
‘It’s a chance to try something new and exciting – and we already know that training is most effective when it’s fun. So if your dog loves The Clam, try him with a Bungee Food Bag. Or if he loves our Sheepskin Chaser Tug, try our Rabbit Skin Bungee Tug.’
- Buddy up
Our dogs are our best friends, but it doesn’t hurt to have some human ones too! And teaming up with others is a great chance to swap training tips, be inspired by others’ success and brainstorm ways to overcome training challenges.
Matt says: ‘Whether it’s by signing up to a new Flyball group or an agility class, or just getting to know the people you see on your walk every morning a bit better, buddying up can be a fun, interesting way to progress on your training journey.’
We hope that’s helped you feel excited and motivated about the year ahead. May it be your most enjoyable and successful one yet!