Are you playing games for your benefit or your dog?
When it comes to training our dogs, we for sure need to also find the session reinforcing, or else we’d struggle with motivating ourselves to train our dogs! That said, when it comes to working certain skills or playing particular games, think about whether the training is for you or your dog’s benefit.
Absolutely we should enjoy the training session, but we do need to consider what skills our dogs need a boost in as well! Try not to avoid certain things just because they aren’t your favourite things to train!!!!
Games to benefit your dog
1. Mix in low and high arousal games
Arousal Up, arousal down is a great concept to ensure we are enhancing in our dogs, and you can enhance this concept by simply considering and planning in some low arousal games and mixing in some high arousal games within the same training session. This will not only enhance the concept of arousal up, arousal down but it will add an element of super variety to your sessions, spicing up your training sessions!
2. Don’t fear failure
If things don’t go quite according to plan and you are seeing a bit of failure, don’t fear it! If your dog has got really stuck and is confused and you see frustration setting in, stop the session. Pop your dog on their bed, or in a crate. Re-think things. Can something be changed there and then? Maybe the set up, maybe the reward deliver, for example? If something can immediately be changed which will result in success, start up the session again, if not, call it a day and re-plan ready for the next session.
3. Train smart
When it comes to your training session, it goes without saying to have everything ready to go! Planning and prep are key to success! Also think about your dog’s transitions to and from work. Manipulate your training space so that you can release your dog from their bed/crate and go immediately into work. Bring your full focus to the session, be in it 100%! Once your dog is released into work, crack on with the training game. Rep as many times as is suitable for your dog, and that is something you need to know before you start the session! Once you have finished cue your dog back onto their bed/in their crate. Be slick with your transitions to and from work!
4. Review, does your training plan need tweaking?
Planning your weekly, fortnightly or even monthly training is great! We love the idea of have goals and targets to reach and a plan will help you keep on track. However, don’t be afraid to tweak your plan or change things up all together! Learn to be flexible! Sometimes our dogs need a boost in a skill we weren’t expecting or perhaps you thought they were further along in their learning with a skill but it turns out you need to clarify things rather than forge on. Being malleable with your training plan is key!