Everything You Need to Know about Dog Training but Were Afraid to Ask
Well, the Obedience and Drive Building Clinic with Margaret and Sheri Trudrung was an overwhelming success!
We covered a multitude of topics including the importance of: engagement - a dog that wants to be with you and knowing your criteria: having a clear picture of the behavior you are trying to train.
I think it's important to first establish that this type of training is for EVERY dog. Your basic household pet and your high level protection dog can and should be started the same way.
As we all know, having a dog is a big responsibility, and training them to be obedient greatly enhances their life as well as yours. A small amount of time consistently put in each day can achieve the results you want.
Drive building, which is a key component of training is really only another way of saying that you are encouraging your dog's natural desire to learn. You are maximizing their learning potential!
The goal is a dog that actively seeks our attention. The "active" dog offers behavior hoping to engage his owner as opposed to the "reactive" dog who is worried about doing something wrong and inhibited in his behavior. Better to teach your dog that they can be rewarded by sitting and looking at you rather than punishing them for jumping up on a guest. Your puppy or even your older dog will learn that offering certain behaviors (like sitting quietly) will earn them a reward and more and more they will begin to "offer" that behavior. When they realize that there is such a thing as being rewarded, you can begin the correction phase of training because they will understand that there is an alternative.
The easiest way to do this is by feeding them their actual meals by hand. Say your pup gets a cup of food in the morning, put that cup in a small baggie and use little bits of the kibble to reward them as you do your training routine. They will naturally be hungry as it is meal time, so they are at their peak of wanting to please you and thus get their breakfast! If you are in a huge hurry, you can always do some short "sits" or "downs," and then they can get a big reward, meaning you give them the remaining food as the last reward. You can feed them half of their meal and then train them using the second half a little later if you don't have time first thing. This can be done effectively either in the morning and again in the evening or even for short bits of time throughout the day; whichever fits best with your schedule. After a few weeks their focus will be very much on you as the provider of food, so that even with other people around your dog will remain "engaged."
It's hard to describe without the addition of the live training as a visual, so you will just need to come out to the next clinic. Trust me, if you have any interest in a well behaved pet, and you should if you have one, you will benefit from a day of hands on work with the experts!