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How to Keep Your Dog Motivated

Dogs doing what they do best.
Image via Wikipedia

Keeping the attention of your dog during training is not always easy. Dogs are 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.

Providing random positive stimuli during the day is a great way to keep the interest of your 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 reward him for small successes.

For instance, in order to reward the dog for coming to you when you call him, ask the dog to come to you, without giving any clues about a walk, a car ride, or other treats.

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

Providing 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 great method to keep your dog motivated while you are dog training.

If the dog knows something great is going to occur every time he follows your commands, he will be more motivated to do want you tell him every time.

Distraction training.

When training any dog, it is vital to not allow distractions spoil the training. The dog must be trained to ignore distractions, such as other people, other dogs, other animals and loud noises, and concentrate on what is being taught These types of distractions can also be used as rewards when training the dog to come when called.

For example, if your dog enjoys playing with other dogs, whether in a local dog park or with the neighbour’s dogs, let him play freely 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).

This so-called distraction training is one of the hardest things for your dog to learn, because dogs are social animals by nature, and breaking away from the pack is one of the hardest things you can ask your dog to do. Most dogs will be understandably unwilling to leave their doggy companions, but it is vital to persist in dog training.

Training your dog to come to you when you call can require some thought on your part at first. For instance, waving a favourite toy, or a lure, is a good 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 too, when training your dog.

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

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