Forget the old idiom- your dog (or cat!) is never too old to learn something new!
This January, commit to a short training session each day with your dog! Regular challenges help keep your dog’s mind and body healthy and active. Training also improves your bond with your canine companion! Be sure to have a selection of your pup’s favorite treats, like Kona's Chips Lamb Lung Crunchtimes or Liver Licks! Break up the treats into small pieces and have them at the ready in a side pouch, like our new Dexas Pooch Pouch!
Training is all about improving your communication with your pet! If your pet is having trouble learning a trick, they don’t understand what you want. Break complex tricks down into easy to understand steps. For example, if you want your dog to learn how to high five, slowly get them accustomed to you touching their paws. Say the verbal command for the trick with each progressive step, and reward your pet with every success.
High fives can be broken down this way:
1. Touching your pet’s paws.
2. Picking up their paw with your hand.
3. Shaking their paw with your hand.
4. Holding out your hand for your pet to give you their paw in a ‘low-five’.
5. Changing the position of your hand into a ‘high-five’.
Some pets may progress from step one to step five in a single day, but most will take a day to several days to learn each progressive step. Keep each session short and positive! Patience is key to learning any new skill!
Ready to progress to more advanced techniques? Try clicker training! Clicker training is a type of operant conditioning that is recognized as a ‘bridging stimulus’. Between the desired behavior and the rewarding treat, there is a gap of time. A clicker used during that gap creates a mental bridge between the behavior and the reward, and can quicken learning. We offer several types of clickers, including the Pet Safe Clik-R. Clicker training is effective for many different species, and is used by animal trainers around the world. We recommend reviewing the countless online resources available regarding clicker training, including clickertraining.com, clickerlessons.com, and youtube’s many clicker training videos.
These tricks and techniques are not just for dogs! Cats, rodents, and other pets can benefit from learning with clickers.