Improve Your Dog’s Behaviour in 7 Days
Welcome back to our blog! This is the first blog in our 2022 selection of amazing dog training hacks, insights and practices from our head trainer Jarvis.
As it’s a new year, new month and a new you we’re kicking off with really easy steps you can take to get a better behaved dog in just 7 days!
We all know our dogs are super intelligent, in fact, it’s usually the smartest dogs that get the better of their owners. Fortunately these brilliant smarts make it possible to change and improve our dog’s behaviour too.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Get To Know Your Breed
Information and technology have changed over the years. Most of us now jump onto our phones to Google the instant information we need – it’s fast, efficient and as bad luck would have it, fraught with misinformation (especially when it comes to dogs).
Knowing your breed is a really great way to lay foundations in training. Our top tip? Buy a few books on your breed from reputable authors and publishers. It will give a much deeper insight into your dog and allow for a better training experience.
Step 2: Create Incentive
Does your dog only do things in exchange for food? Does a game with a toy put a spring in their step? If so, it’s time to up the anti. Invest in a treat bag for your dog’s favourite things and keep them on you for the entire time your dog is awake, and interacting with you.
Reward your dog for every single thing they do right throughout the day. Coming in from the garden on cue, sitting, waiting, being calm, laying down and settling, ignoring a distraction on your walk. Everything.
All of these little rewards will add up and show your dog that you are interesting, trustworthy and worth listening to.
Top tip: Use 50% of your dog’s daily food intake as their reward to prevent obesity.
Step 3: Be Consistent
Most owners are keen to remove treats from their daily routine with their dog before the dog is ready or only half-trained. Instead of gradually reducing treats, they fall off a cliff and the dog instantly loses interest in their human.
We all like to be paid for our work, dogs are no different. Keep up those food and toy rewards every time you interact with your dog. Keeping your side of the bargain equates to a fantastic relationship, but you can’t half-arse it.
Top tip: Mix in some high value rewards in with kibble to maintain your dog’s drive in high distraction areas.
Step 4: Stop rewarding Poor Behaviours
Most owners are either passive when it comes to poor behaviours or accidentally rewarding them. Here’s a scenario many of you will be familiar with; the dog will jump on guests or bulldoze other dogs and there is no consequence; usually because the owner is doubtful of their ability. Here, there is no consequence or perhaps the reward is the poor behaviour. Either way, passiveness will ensure failure.
The majority of dog parents are instructed in puppy classes to ignore negative behaviour and eventually it will go away. Generally speaking, for about 80% of dogs, this will never work (of course, individuality and circumstances vary so it’s worth booking a 1:1 session with us).
Block or Prevent
Blocking behaviours is really simple, but involves direct action and confidence from the owner.
If your dog is over-excited (perhaps they jump up at guests) they need to be set up for success. Crate training dogs to be calm before greeting guests is helpful, as are setting and “place” commands. However your dog might be so over-excited that these behaviours aren’t the answer.
Even the simplicity of your trusty treat bag and putting your dog on a lead can allow you to block jumping up from occurring and give you the added bonus of being able to positively reward paws on the floor efficiently. Make both of your lives easier and look at how you can gain control to set boundaries. Sometimes a lead is all you need to help the dog move towards success.
Step 5: Exercise vs Sleep
Most dogs either don’t get enough exercise or enough sleep. Finding the balance can be tricky.
If you are walking your dog for several hours in a day and still struggling to settle at night they may be over stimulated. These dogs need more rest and shorter activities (20 minutes of fun between naps). This is where crate training is a fantastic tool.
When trained properly, dogs adore crates – they are a cosy, safe space to relax and be completely unbothered by the world.
Dogs need more sleep than humans do – this is to do with a shorter REM cycle. We fall into a deep sleep for longer periods. Dogs manage small spells during cat naps that build up throughout the day to keep them balanced.
If your dog is a couch potato for most of the day, and suddenly becomes a a barky little terror at certain stimuli, they could be fibbing to you about their activity requirements.
Many breeds sleep when they are bored or there is nothing going on to conserve energy. It’s a survival instinct.
This can make them look like they don’t need much to do, aim to walk for 45 minutes each day and add in a couple of 20 minute enrichment activities morning and evening. This could be scattering food in snuffle mats, sniffing out toys, or frozen stuffed Kongs.
Become and VIP Member and get immediate access to all of our dog training tutorials and get advice from your trainer.
Step 6: Play
Dogs build relationships and trust through play. How many times a day do you play with your dog? Increasing play time by 20 minutes morning and evening will make you interesting and fun. This can help aid your recall and communication on walks and in urban areas.
Play also improves a dog’s mood and ability to cope with stress. If you have a dog that is easily stressed or barks a lot, tug toy play can relieve tension and allow for a higher level of relaxation.
Tugenuff toys are fantastic for this, as they also drain prey drive instincts for many dogs! We prefer them for boosting recall. Get yours here and Use JARVIS at the checkout for 10% off.
Still Struggling after 7 Days?
There are so many ways we can help you get the best behaviour from your best friend. Dogs and humans are complex. We are in the business of untangling miscommunication and getting results – fast.
Join us for a Board and Train experience