Earlier today, I had the opportunity to meet a new family. I always enjoy consultations because I get to learn what’s going on in people’s lives, what’s important to them. I also get to evaluate dogs and help families with what they need help with.
Part of the consultation is me listening to people and they give me feedback. Over the years, I’ve come up with some ways to engage people. Today, after hearing their laundry list of things they needed help with, I busted out something new and said “raise your hand if you want this to be complicated.”
Of course, there were crickets, because who in the world would raise their hand for that? No one wants dog training to be complicated, but sometimes as humans, we do tend to complicate things.
When you look at dog training as a whole, it looks like a complicated mess. However, if you can just take it and distill it down to what the dog can actually understand at that particular moment, you don’t have to make it complicated at all. I think you should make it extremely simple and then progressively move forward.
For instance, when I first start training a dog, I figure out which treat they like the best. At the same time, I also put a leash on them and I observe what the dog’s response to leash pressure is. That way, I know if I need to go with something gently, or a little bit more focused. Then, I set up the dog with a very simple problem. I show the dog that it’s great to get on the bed, it’s amazing to lie down, and if you come off when you see food I’m not going to let you have it and then use the leash to put them back.
From that one little exercise, it’s amazing to see how the lightbulbs turn on in your dog when they realize there’s another way they can solve this problem and they can do it cooperatively with a human. Mind you, the human does say anything other than “good dog,” so see, it’s not complicated. The dog is like “ok this other creature doesn’t talk, it uses the leash, it uses food and gives it to me while I’m on this platform and won’t let me have it if I get off.”
Whatever you’re working on with your dog today, whatever issues or thing you’re trying to teach, don’t make it complicated. Whenever you’ve taught that thing in a very simple way, and the dog has learned to do that, start including your dog using that skill you taught them.
I hope this was helpful, don’t hesitate to send me a text at (832)734-5189 if you have any questions about anything.