Training Troubleshooting

This week, we’ll be looking at training troubleshooting. We hear you, now here’s the solution! We are all about turning struggles into strengths!

Struggle 1: My dog doesn’t like food/won’t work for food

This crops up quite a bit and there is ONE thing you can start doing right now that’s going to help and that’s to ditch the dinner bowl!

We say it a lot, but using your dog’s daily food to train with is a game changer. View it as a pot of value. Right now, if you are using a bowl, that value is being wasted by going straight into the dinner bowl! Think of all the cool stuff you could be working on with that source of reinforcement!

Dogs LOVE to work for something in return, so for those of you who have a dog that, at the moment, won’t work for food, we’d love you to try ditching the bowl and work through this. Trust us we have seen it work time and time again.

Struggle 2: My dog just doesn’t get it!

Learning for your dog should be fun and achievable. One pitfall in dog training is that we can sometimes expect too much too soon.

Let your dog guide the learning pace. Don’t be in a hurry to add more difficulty. When your dog is ready for the next level, that’s great, but re-visit the previous easier levels randomly too! That way you’ll keep the motivation high!

And remember, every dog is different. Train the dog that is in front of you!

Struggle 3: Waaaa!! There’s just too much to train. Where do I start?

It can be totally overwhelming if you have in your mind ALL of the challenges you are currently facing with your dog. Or perhaps you own a sports dog, and you are snowed under with all of the skills you’d like to teach your dog to prepare them for competition.

Pick your battles! You can’t achieve everything all in one go. So here’s a task for you; pick 3 things you’d like to work on with your dog for the next 3 weeks. Focus on just those 3 and really work at them. Keep to this mindset and make a plan.

Break your training down into achievable chunks!

Struggle 4: It was a disaster!

So your training session didn’t go to plan. Its human nature to really focus on what went wrong! Flip that mindset on it’s head!  Even if you didn’t have the perfect training session, forget the bad, focus on the good. What went right?  We LOVE this quote:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
– Winston Churchill

Struggle 5: My dog jumps up, my dog counter surfs, my dog goes nuts when visitors come, my dog goes wild when someone is walking passed the window… to name a few!

We hear these, and more, a lot! So what is the solution? There’s one game that can solve SO many training challenges!

∞ B O U N D A R Y   G A M E S   F O R   T H E   W I N! ∞

If you haven’t already invested time in playing boundary games, now is the time to start! Seriously, hop to it!  We aren’t kidding when we say boundary games are the key to unlocking so many struggles and turning them into strengths! If you’re not sure where to start, grab a copy of the Naughty But Nice DVD, it’s all explained in there!

Check back next week for more tips! Visit our website for more info on ways we can help: or email if you have any questions.

lauren langmanAbout the Author: Lauren Langman is responsible for the design and development of all Devon Dogs classes, events and workshops. She competes in Agility at Grade 7, the highest rank of competition in the British agility arena. She regularly competes and wins at top agility events in the UK including Crufts and Olympia, and has represented the UK at World Agility Championship level on many occasions.

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