We all want our dogs to listen to us and train until we say the training session is over. But the reality is things do not go as smoothly as you wish.
Dogs lose focus. It is normal and to be expected. Remember, dogs have a short attention span. So, the next time you plan a training session, be ready for things to go differently than you expected.
How often should you train your dog?
Before we get to some tricks you can use to get your dog’s attention back to you, let’s talk about something many new dog owners ask.
How often to train your dog? Well, ideally, you should train your dog once per day. The reality is that everything you do is training for your puppy. Yes, there are designated training sessions.
But everything you do throughout the day is basically training. When your puppy is in his bed and you are praising him, you are reinforcing that calm behavior.
So, with that in mind, while once per day for 15 minutes is the basic premise, remember, everything you do is training. Use every opportunity to reinforce good behavior.
Be ready for short attention spans
Whether you have an eight-week puppy or a three or a four-year-old dog, be ready for short attention spans. That is the reality.
But the good thing is you can do something about it. The big mistake you might make is to try and train your puppy when he/she is not paying attention.
Train your puppy for as long as you are able to get his attention. Every time you train your dog you are actually establishing a bond and relationship that will pay dividends long-term.
What to do if your dog gets bored quickly
Many dog owners struggle with this problem. You train your dog, it gets things right for the first minute or two, and then all hell breaks loose.
No more attention, no more listening to you. If you are wondering what you did wrong, do not. There is nothing you have done. It is just your dog is struggling with attention and focus.
But this is where the magic happens. Some dogs have problems with focus. What you need to do at this point is make training more fun.
For example, if your dog loses interest in training, get his focus back by making things fun. You can play running games like chase. Make your dog chase you to get his focus back on you. Remember, this only works when you have a good bond. Without a good bond, your dog will not chase you
Your dog wants to train. Do not worry about it. But it is your job to make sure training is fun and fulfilling for your dog. No puppy, heck, no human wants to listen to commands and obey them blindly for 15 minutes.
Do you want someone telling you to sit, come, lie down, and similar for 15 minutes? And having no fun in it? Well, your dog doesn’t as well.
The trick here is to change the activity. You can go from agility training to obedience training or vice versa. Or you can add some playtime in between training sessions.
Remember, only a happy dog is willing to train and play.
Always end up on a positive note
I said before that it is your job to make training fun. The trick is to make sure your dog wins each and every time. And that you finish the training on a positive note. This will make your puppy eager to train again.
Do not leave the most difficult and challenging tasks for the end of the training sessions. There is a structure and right way how to do dog training. You start with something easy, then you gradually increase to something more challenging, and end up on a positive note, something your dog has perfected.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you want to teach your dog to jump over an obstacle. You do not start with that. You start with things your dog knows, like sit, lie down, come, rollover, etc. Then, you start playing and get your dog’s excitement up.
You try jumping over an obstacle, and if your dog manages to do it, great. Do not repeat it too many times. Then, you go back to something easier and make sure to reward your puppy.
When your dog wins, it wants to do it again and again. Who doesn’t want rewards? Right?