By Ursula Birr
Everything is going like clockwork, the dog is enthusiastic about it and you are cheering inside? Then set a time goal. You should not challenge your four-legged partner for more than 15 minutes at a time, even if he does not show any fatigue. Otherwise you risk a sudden drop in performance or an unhealthy heating up. Conclude your “school lesson” with a play unit or a cuddle session.
Learning and internalizing something new takes time. If your dog has understood something and promptly follows the command, don’t go a step further. Let him and yourself enjoy what you have learned. A few routine exercises that he’s already mastered are better. Then repeat your lesson with him and be happy if he still remembers it.
Your dog is distracted, restless, is it distracted by everything around him? And you notice that he doesn’t really listen when you ask him to do something complicated or new? Then it is best to take a little break (maybe he just needs to loosen up) before you start again – but this time with exercises that give him a sense of achievement.
Going to training with a hungry dog is just as bad as training with one who has had a full stomach. A large meal should be bagged for at least two hours. He should have fasted a maximum of six hours beforehand so that he does not only think about the treats that you are carrying with you. You shouldn’t keep giving this to him after every completed exercise. Take turns: sometimes there is verbal praise, sometimes a short stroke, sometimes a toy that he can chase, catch and retrieve, and in between there is always something tasty. In this way, you avoid the dog demanding his reward (not his confirmation) at some point.
We humans live by the clock. When there is a lesson, we start on time. The dog works differently. He first wants to sniff, orientate himself and, above all, bleed his muscles and clear his head. You offer him the best prerequisites for this if you run a few hundred meters with him before starting your exercises, allow him to be caressed and so he can concentrate on yourself. This increases his desire for “more”, even if the more is exercises.
You don’t feel like training and exercises? Then leave it. Your bad mood will automatically pass on to the dog, who will interpret your facial expressions and body language correctly. You will also be more impatient if you only work with the dog out of a sense of duty. The same goes for when you feel uncomfortable, by the way. The exercises only work if both you and the dog are motivated.
This is especially true for monotonous obedience exercises. Bring variety to the “sit”, “down”, “stay” and “here” exercises. To bring the dog from running to “sitting”, then back to “standing” or “sitting down”, letting him go from “sitting down” to “sitting”, from fast running to shouting leisurely “at your feet” , challenges him mentally and prevents him from doing the 08/15 exercises in a bored and more and more flippant way. You can reverse your usual routine. Take turns!