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solution seeker

Photo by Mel Taylor

Solution Seeker Tips

This week we are going to look at 3 very common dog training struggles and what you can do to find the solution… These are just some of our solution seeker tips! If you have any more suggestions to add to ours, pop them in the comments below. 

Struggle 1: “My dog is an extremely picky eater and using food for training is a real challenge.”

Solution Seeker Tip 1:

    1. Each and every day, your dog has a daily food allowance. We like to look at it as a pot of value. As owners we get to decide where that pot of value is spent. If we pour that pot of value into training and games, rather than a bowl, we are boosting that relationship bank account with our dog.
    2. Ditching the bowl and using your dog’s food for games and training is probably the single biggest thing you can do to transform your relationship with your dog. This is huge! You become the centre of all things fun!
    3.  Now, we get it, it can be a little overwhelming at first, especially if you own a large breed who requires a hefty amount of food each day. The thought of using ALL of it for training and games alone can be a little daunting. So, get creative with how your dog can work for their food. As well as training and games think about using food enrichment toys, food puzzles, kongs, scatter feeding your dog’s food around the house or in the garden.
    4. Ditching the bowl is our VERY first suggestion to all of our students and once they embrace it, they don’t look back! Trust us, you won’t either!

Struggle 2: “I love the idea of games-based dog training but my dog doesn’t seem to care and is quite unmotivated, his motivation and drive only switches on when a squirrel is present!”

Solution Seeker Tip 2:

    1. CREATE LOTS OF EASY WINS: For now ensure all of the games you play are very easy for your dog to achieve. Don’t ask for anything too complex. Bringing the joy to your training sessions with easy wins will create that desire and motivation!
    2. SHORT SESSIONS: We say it a lot but it’s worth repeating; training sessions should be a fun time, not a long time. Challenge yourself to a 30 second training session! It’s harder than it sounds! Keeping sessions short and full with small bursts of energy will help to build motivation.
    3. BRING THE ENERGY YOURSELF: Before you start the game, bring energy to the session! Jump up and down with your dog, make the experience of going to your training area, grabbing the food/toys exciting! Create anticipation!

Struggle 3: “I feed raw food, how can food-based games work for me?”

Solution Seeker Tip 3:

When we suggest ditching the bowl, sometimes we are met with questions on just how you do that if you feed your dog raw. Please don’t view feeding your dog raw as a road block to ditching the bowl! Many of our students feed raw and manage it. It just takes a little bit of planning and creativity but it for sure is doable. Here are some of our ideas on how you can make it work:

      • Use a teaspoon to deliver bits of prepared mince.
      • Or if you’re not squeamish, divide the mince up into little bits and use your hands (obviously washing them thoroughly afterwards…!).
      • Some people have multiple teaspoons lined up with mince already loaded on them.
      • Chop up chicken necks into small pieces
      • Chop up and dehydrate liver, kidney, heart etc
      • Pop your prepared mince into a squirty bottle with a nozzle on the end. One squirt = one food reward delivered into your dog’s mouth!

Read more of our Thursday Training Tips HERE and check out our Online Training Classes over at Devon Dogs.

Do you have a training issue you want to tackle? Come and stay with us in our cottage style apartments, right in the heart of Dartmoor, and make the most of our fantastic training facilities onsite.

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