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Short cuts don’t work

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loose lead walking

I get a ton of people, every other day, telling me that their dog won’t do one of two things, or sometimes even both.

  1. Come back when called
  2. Walk nicely on lead

And I have a super simple answer to both of these problems.

But people don’t want to hear it.

Or they don’t want to do it.

They want me to wave a magic wand and *poof* dog comes back when called!

Either way, the solution is simple, the execution is tough.

It takes time

You see, nothing happens over night.

There is no magic answer.

No dog trainer secret.

There are no shortcuts

Other dog trainers are gonna hate me for saying that, so don’t tell them I told you.

The ONLY difference between a dog trainer and a dog owner is…..

We train longer.

That’s it.

End of….

Okay, I’ll explain a little more.

I train my dog 3-5 times per day.

Every day.

Plus walk.

And play.

And that’s a hell of a lot of opportunity for reinforcement.

I see reinforcement everywhere.

Want me to throw the ball? Give me a sit first.

Feel like a game of tug? Show me some impulse control or a stay.

Fancy swimming in the stream? Come back to me first.

There is reinforcement everywhere.

Not to mention with his daily food allowance. Its all used in training.

See, dogs are contrafreeloaders, they like to work for their food, (more about that here)

The second thing I do differently

Is train one thing for longer before moving onto the next stage.

So when training a new scent, I spend at least a month just teaching Rio that scent = reward.

No hiding, searching, or making things difficult. Just scent = reward.

The more time spent on that, the easier the rest of the work is, and the stronger the dogs associations are.

Its the same with competitive obedience. To get the fancy heel and ultimate focus, top competitors spend months and months just on the first stages.

Build foundations before getting fancy

And I know everyone wants the fancy stuff.

But the foundations are what really matters.

Nothing happens over night.

You’re dog won’t suddenly come back to you after one class.

You have to put in the effort.

Train through the stages.

Don’t rush or expect more of your dog than she can do.

And if your dog can’t do it, then there is no shame in going backwards a step or two and retraining.

Training goes up and down.

Good days and bad days.

But be persistent.

And you will get results.