A well balanced dog can be a huge blessing in your life. Dogs love big. I have been fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to be surrounded by dogs in work as well as at home. Having spent so much time with so many different dogs, I’ve seen all sorts of different personalities and learning styles. Every dog is a unique creation just like us. They have their own little (or big) personalities and learning styles. Knowing that, as the trainer one of the most important things I do is to observe how a dog responds to different stimulations and get to know them so I can build my training plan accordingly. There are certain core principles in dog training that apply across the board, but the method you use may vary drastically from one dog to the next.
Before you step into training with your dog, whether on your own or with a trainer, take some time to get to know what drives your dog. Some dogs are motivated by food, some are motivated by tugs or balls, and some live for affection. Occasionally, as a trainer I see extremely independent dogs who could care less about any of those things. Most of the time those dogs are a product of their upbringing. Often times they have been conditioned to react or not react to different things in the environment in various ways. By being intentional with the way we interact with our dogs, we can build value or diminish value in things like food, toys, and affection. Be intentional. It will make all the difference in how your dog responds in training. Take some time to watch and then get out there and have some fun with your dog.
In my next post I will talk about some ways we influence our pets intentionally and unintentionally. Until then, teach.learn.play!