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Motivating your dog

Keeping the attention of a dog while training is not always easy. Dogs can be easily distracted, and it is important to not allow the dog training sessions to be sabotaged by boredom. Making dog training fun for the dog and the human alike is vital to creating a happy, well adjusted and well trained dog.

You should provide random positive stimuli throughout the day in order to maintain the interest of the dog. Doing things the dog enjoys, like walking in the park, riding in the car, and playing with other dogs, are great ways to keep the dog’s attention, but you must give him rewards for his successes.

For example, to thank the dog for coming to you when you call him, tell the dog to come to you, without giving any ideas about going for a walk, a car ride, or other treats.

After your dog has come over to you and obediently sat down, attach the leash and begin the reward. This can be either the afore-mentioned walk in the park, ride in the car, or anything else the dog enjoys doing.

Giving some kind of reward, whether a treat, a special outing, or just a scratch behind the ears, every time the dog does something you want, is a good method to keep your dog motivated while you are dog training.

If the dog knows something good is going to happen every time he follows your command, he will be motivated to please you every time.

Distraction training.

When training a dog, it is important to not let distractions ruin the training. The dog must be taught to ignore distractions, such as other people, other dogs, other animals and loud noises, and focus on what is being taught These types of distractions can even be used as rewards when training the dog to come when told.

For example, if your dog enjoys romping with other dogs, whether it be in a park or with the neighbour’s dogs, let him play with those other dogs. Then go into the park or garden and call your dog.

When he comes to you, provide lots of praise, treats and other rewards, then immediately let the dog to go back to playing with his friends. Repeat this several times and praise the dog each time he comes over to you.

The dog will quickly learn that coming to you means good things (treats and praise) and not bad ones (being removed from the park).

So-called distraction training is one of the most difficult things to teach, because dogs are naturally social animals, and breaking away from the pack is one of the hardest things you can ask your dog to do. Most dogs will be understandably reluctant to leave their canine companions, but it is important to persist in dog training.

Training the dog to come to you when you call may require some thought on your behalf at first. For example, waving one of his favourite toys, or a lure, is a great way to get your dog’s attention and put the focus back on you. If your dog has been clicker trained, a quick click can be a good motivator as well in dog training.

Once your dog starts to become used to coming when called, you can begin to reduce and then stop the visual cues and focus on making the dog obey just your voice. It is vital that the dog obeys voice commands alone, as you will not always have a toy or lure to hand.

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