10 ways to make your dog a better student!

10 ways to make your dog a better student!

Could your dog be a better student? These ten tips will help you enhance her learning ability and improve her behavior!

Like humans, all dogs learn differently. Certain breeds and personalities require more structure, while others prefer more play and praise. But while it’s important to figure out what makes your dog tick when it comes to training, there are a number of general ways you can enhance her ability to retain what you’re teaching her!

1. Use verbal and visual cues

Even once you figure out your dog’s learning style, it’s still beneficial to use a variety of cues during your training sessions. When teaching your dog to sit, for example, say the command (“sit”) and choose a hand signal to correspond with it. Eventually your pup will associate the two cues with the action of sitting, and will respond to both.

2. Use high-value rewards

Many dogs will tire of learning and performing for a lackluster pat on the head. Inspire him to do better by upping the anti! Offer high-value rewards like small chunks of chicken or cheese.

3. Give your student your full attention

If you aren’t focused, can you really expect her to be? Dogs pick up on our moods, so lead by example at your sessions by keeping your head in the game.

4. Keep training sessions short

Even if you’re doing everything you can to keep your pup engaged, her attention span isn’t likely to last much more than 15 minutes. Keep training sessions short and sweet so you don’t lose her focus.

5. Practice behavior proofing

Once your dog masters her tricks in the living room, it’s time to switch up your training environment! Click here to learn more about behavior proofing and why it’s so important.

6. Don’t rely solely on treats

If you teach your dog that she gets a cookie every time she sits, she might not sit unless she sees a cookie in your hand! Switch up the way you reward her by offering play or chin scratches every now and again.

7. Catch bad behaviors before they happen

It’s easier to redirect to a desired behavior than it is to undo a bad one. When you catch her counter surfing, for instance, firmly tell her “no” and then ask her to sit. When she obeys, offer praise.

8. Be a strong teacher

Because dogs pick up on our energy, they sense it when we lack confidence (and are more likely to take advantage). Establish your leadership skills by practicing consistency, positivity and assertiveness.

9. Consistency is key

The importance of consistency in dog training can’t be overstated. If you’re giving your dog inconsistent signals, she’s going to respond with inconsistent results. Be clear about what you want from her!

10. Know your student

Does your canine student seem resistant to formal training sessions? Keep them fun! Is she easier to train right after exercise? Train her after exercise! Does she prefer play-based praise over pats on the head? Bring a toy to your sessions!

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