So, you’ve brought home a new furry friend and you want to get into training. But you have no idea where to start? You’ve Googled and YouTubed, but you’re still not sure which direction to go. We’re going to give you a few of our Work for Treats (WFT) tricks below.
WFT Trick #1 - Consistency
Consistency starts with you! Training is as much about you, as it is your pet. Have you been paying attention to yourself during your training? How about the other members of your household?
For example, if you are using the word “down” to get your dog to lay down, but your partner is using the word “lay”, there is a lack of consistency for your pup. There must be agreement and consistency on the terminology your household will use on commands. This will help alleviate frustration for you, pup and humans. Pay attention to your actions, as training is just as much for you and your household.
WFT Trick #2 - High-Value Reward
The better the treat, the better they learn. That’s our point of view. It’s hard to keep your animal focused. Then, you have to get them to repeat an action multiple times. We recommend what we call a high value reward and something that is not typical to their routine. This could be a cold cut or a chopped up piece of chicken. Tear everything up very small to last longer during training. It’ll spark the interest of your pet as well.
And if you’re anything like us, we like a treat after working out too!
WFT Trick #3 - Praise & Love
Ultimately, your dog really does want to please you. Be sure to shower them with plenty of praise when they complete an action correctly. It will be tempting to praise them when they give it the old college try, but during your training routine, limit praise to when the action has been done correctly. Once it has been done correctly, shower your pet with belly rubs, ear scratches and tons of kisses. Then, get right back to work. Praise and repeat the cycle to show your dog what they can expect when they do this action correctly outside of the training window.
WFT Trick #4 - Scheduling
Depending on the age of your pet, we recommend starting with 15 minute windows four times per week for six weeks. Start with small commands like sit, paw and stay. After three weeks of consistency from you and your pet, you can add in new layers of commands. Your dog’s attention span will vary, depending on how much exercise they got that day, and your own mood. Feel it out. But remember step one and practice consistency.
Just like human exercise, get in a few minutes even when you don’t want to. Don’t yell at your dog when you’re frustrated or tired. This will confuse your animal and your praise & love conditioning. Remember, you as the human are being trained too. Ask yourself, how am I being consistent today?
Training is a topic we get asked about often. When you break it down into these categories above, it’s easier than you think. It all starts with the human. And of course, the value of the treat! We are wishing you all very good luck.