Dog training can be extremely challenging at times. It will certainly test your patients so we want to go over some tips and tricks to help make things a bit easier for you. Watching hundreds of videos online still may not be enough for you and your dog specifically, as every dog is so different. Follow our little guide detailed below to help progress through training and you should have a much easier time!
There’s been a saying for decades that there are three “D’s” of dog training. These are Duration, Distance, and Distractions. As we progress through our dog’s training program, we want to slowly improve upon each of these 3 categories. There’s a slow progression and it’s important that you do not rush it! If you try to push forward too quickly, your dog will struggle, which will ultimately test your patients the most! Take it nice and slow and remember – you should be bored before you move on to the next step!
Before we do anything too crazy in terms of obedience with our dog, we need to start wit the absolute basics. Can your dog sit and hold it until you release them? Can your dog sit while you open the door and walk out? Can your dog sit while you take a few steps away? If not, this is where we need to start.
Duration refers to how long your dog can hold the command. In the beginning, it is unlikely that your dog will be able to hold a sit for very long and even more unlikely that they can hold it while you take a few steps away from them. We need to do hundreds and hundreds of repetitions to teach them impulse control. Every time they get up too soon, simply use the leash to guide them back into a sit. Rinse and repeat. As your dog continues to progress and gets better and better at sitting and holding it, start prolonging how long they hold it for. Each day, you can go longer and longer until they are extremely consistent and proficient. From there, we can move on to the next step!
Distance in dog training often refers to how far away you can get from your dog while they perform the obedience command you have instructed. The best way to start working on distance is through taking baby steps. Each day, you can get a little bit further away. The next day – go a little bit further. The next day – go a bit further yet. Continue to progress until your dog struggles to hold their sit command. Once you have found their limit, take a few steps back in towards them and try again. If their thresh hold is 10 feet, do 100 repetitions at 9 feet before progressing again.
Dog training in these early steps should be boring! That means you’re doing enough reps and your dog is doing well. If your dog continues to struggle when training, it means you’re moving too quickly. Slow things down, focus on fun/easy reps, and take things slow.
This last step is often the most fun step – it is when you can get out and about in public and work on challenging your pup. However, it’s important that they have an extremely solid grasp of boundaries, structure, duration, and distance. Once you have done enough repetitions and your dog is performing well, it is time to slowly ramp up distractions. If you have been practicing in your back yard, try moving to the front yard. Try moving down the street. Try an open field or an open parking lot. Slowly increase the amount of distractions present to see how your dog performs. If they struggle too much, you need to lower the distractions or find a different place with less going on.
As you see your dog having fun and doing the obedience commands with ease, continue to progress to new training locations. Keep at it until not much can phase your dog and they become extremely consistent. If at any point you believe your dog is struggling, reel them back in, take a step back, reset, and try again!
Dog training can be extremely tedious at times. You want it to be. You want it to become boring at times, because you have done so many repetitions but your dog is doing so well. Remember these 3 “D’s” of dog training – Duration, Distance, and Distractions and watch your dog continue to get better and better each day.
If you need additional training help, just reach out and we’ll get you started with one of our training programs! You can explore all of our training options here and let us know how we can help!