Let’s admit it, we all want instant gratification.
We want things right now and we don’t like to be forced to wait for anything. And we live a society that has developed tons of shortcuts and devices that give us the things we want faster and faster.
For someone like me who doesn’t have a tremendous amount of patience this is pretty cool.
Unfortunately getting things so fast has made us intolerant of any kind of delay in obtaining those things we want.
With our dogs this regularly gets us into trouble.
We expect them to catch on quick and learn at an unrealistic pace, which is unfair to them and leads to much frustration for both us and our dogs.
I see it all the time with my clients. I teach something like a sit-stay and the dog does it great for 10 reps with the owners two feet away, so they decide to now try it from across the room.
Hold on a sec. – we skipped quite a few steps there!
All dog training is a step by step process that has to be done in a natural, gradual progression. There’s no Cliff Notes version of teach a dog something like a sit-stay. You have move forward little by little as the dog learns each step.
Rushing the process not only makes your success unlikely but it will give both you and your dog a hefty dose of frustration.
Always at your dog’s pace
The key thing to keep in mind is that you can only go as fast as your dog is able and willing to go. And that’s always going to be slower than you would like.
Every dog is different and will progress at their own pace. Just because your neighbor’s dog learned to walk on a leash in a week doesn’t mean your dog is going to be on the same schedule.
It’s good to challenge your dog and to experiment with pushing him a bit, but be very careful not to overwhelm him. Pushing your pooch too far will only lead to non-compliance.
Take it slow, give your dog time to absorb what he’s learning. Train in short, bite-sized chunks where you always end on a high note. When you’re doing the best you’ve ever done, that’s when it’s time to call it quits for the moment.
The tendency is to keep pushing and try to do more, but try to keep in mind that your dog has the attention span of the average teenager and is unable to focus for long periods of time.
No pressure now
Remember that training should be fun for you and your dog. Set realistic expectations and goals and work together to achieve them.
That means understanding your dog’s needs and wants in addition to your own.
If training your dogs seems like work, you’re doing it wrong. Keep it fun and don’t stress over the end result. Instead enjoy the training process and the time you get to spend with your furry pal.
Taking all training with your dog step by step will lead you along the path to a successful relationship with your dog no matter what level of training you achieve.
Enjoy each step and take some time to appreciate every little accomplishment along the way.