We read and hear it over and over again. The more we challenge our dog, the harder the exercises are. But there are always days when nothing works. Good to know what we can do then.
End when it’s most beautiful
Everything is going like clockwork, the dog is enthusiastic about it and you are cheering inside? Then set a time goal. You shouldn’t challenge your four-legged partner for more than 15 minutes at a time, even if he doesn’t show any signs of fatigue. Otherwise, you risk a sudden drop in performance or unhealthy heating up. Complete your “school lesson” with a game unit or a cuddle session.
Wrong ambition hurts
Learning and internalizing something new takes time. If your dog understands something and promptly follows the command, don’t take it one step further. Let him and yourself enjoy what you have just learned. A few routine exercises that he has already mastered are better. Then repeat your lesson with him and be happy if he remembers it.
Back to the start is often good
Is your dog unfocused, restless, distracted by everything around him? And you notice that he doesn’t really listen when you ask him to do something complicated or new? Then it’s best to take a little break (maybe he just needs to loosen up) before starting again, but this time with exercises that give him a sense of achievement.
Not always a treat
Going to training with a hungry dog is just as inconvenient as going to one with a full stomach. A larger meal should last at least two hours. He should have fasted for a maximum of six hours beforehand so that he doesn’t only think about the treats you’re carrying with you. You shouldn’t keep handing it to him after every exercise you’ve completed. Take turns: Sometimes there is verbal praise, sometimes a short petting, sometimes a toy that he can follow, catch and fetch, and always something tasty in between. This way you avoid the dog demanding his reward (not his confirmation) at some point.
Never from zero to one hundred
We, humans, live by the clock. When there is class, we start on time. The dog ticks differently. First, he wants to sniff around, get his bearings and, above all, get the blood flowing through his muscles and clear his head. You offer him the best conditions for this if, before starting your exercises, you run a few hundred meters with him in a race, treat him to petting, and thus concentrate on himself. This increases his desire for “more”, even if the more is exercises.
Rather doubly motivated
You really don’t feel like training and exercises? Then don’t. Your bad mood is automatically transferred to the dog, which correctly interprets your facial expressions and body language. You’ll also be more impatient if you work with the dog just out of a sense of duty. The same applies, by the way, if you feel unwell. The exercises will only work if both you and the dog are motivated.
The whole thing backward
This is especially true for monotonous obedience exercises. Mix up the “sit,” “down,” “stay,” and “here” exercises. Getting the dog from running to ‘sit’, then back to ‘stand’ or ‘down’, letting it go from ‘down’ to ‘sit’, from running fast to calling a leisurely ‘heel’, challenges him mentally and prevents him from doing the 08/15 exercises in a bored and ever more flippant manner. Feel free to reverse the usual routine. Take turns!