Posted by Mike Trevena 02/20/2019
Solve all of your dog training issues using this secret!
For the new dog or puppy owner or the owner of a dog which needs some training there are some go to exercises which nearly everybody assume’s are the first building blocks to achieving a well trained dog. Exercises such as sit, paw, recall and stay are commonly the first things that an owner will teach their dog. They feel that these exercises give them a good starting point to build upon. The problem is, very few owners get much further than these few commands and even when they dog, they tend not to reach a high level of reliability from their dog.
In my quest to help dogs and owners live happier lives together I’ve spent a lot of time trying to put myself in the owners shoes rather than using the viewpoint of a dog trainer.
I know that historically, when I’ve trained a dog its taken a level of commitment, skill, time and dedication to achieve the desired result that the average pet dog owner, through no fault of their own, would find it impossible to achieve.
In between getting the children ready for school, preparing food for the family, going to work or working from home, family outings, social occasions and leisure time its no wonder the many owners start off with the best intentions but sooner or later life gets in the way and they begin to accept problem behaviours from their dog.
There are a high number of exercises which conventional obedience requires you to teach your dog and, even with a high level of dedication and skill, it takes around 50 hours to train a dog in these key exercises. How on earth is the typical owner supposed to find the time to do they work they need to and also do the studying and practice required to train to an acceptable level?
I’ve pondered this question many times and have finally, about a year ago, come up with the answer… you don’t need to!
There is an easier way, it’s based upon the Pareto principle (follow this link to learn more), otherwise know as the 80/20 rule. The rule dictates that 80 percent of effects are the result of 20 percent of the causes. For example, 80 percent of the peas in a garden come from 20 percent of the pods. I’ve found that the same rule applies to dog training and you can use it to rapidly speed up your training and the effectiveness of it.
In dog training, we have found that 80 percent of the problems that owners experience outside the home are a direct result of a lack of attention. From pulling on lead to dog aggression, if your dog pays more attention to you than it does anything else then it cannot partake in the problem behaviour.
Bearing this in mind, if a high level of attention is the answer to nearly all problems that dogs can display, by simply focusing all of your efforts towards training an exceptionally high level of attention instead of the usual sit, stay, wait, heel, fetch, come which conventional training suggests then not only does your dog benefit from the simplicity of only one exercise but also, you aren’t creating a jack of all trades but a master of one.
Don’t believe me?
Think about it, if you were the first thing on your dogs mind when you were out and about and all of it’s attention is focussed towards you then you wouldn’t experience the common issues that dogs usually display.
A dog that pays a high level of attention isn’t pulling on lead because it’s focussed on the owner, it cannot chase animals or run off to other dogs or be reactive on lead because now it doesn’t even notice them and you hardly ever need to recall it because he/she doesn’t leave in the first place…the examples are many.
Basically, if just training a high level of attention removes the need to train your dog to walk nicely, recall, retrieve, ignore distractions etc then it is the most efficient use of your time which gives you the most benefit from the smallest amount of input.
Similarly, we have also applied the 80/20 rule to training techniques. Just 20 percent of the techniques give you 80 percent of the results and so, if you know which approaches work for most owners and most dog and forget the rest then everything gets much simpler.
Training an adult dog who has difficult behaviours to show a high level of attention takes about 10-30 minutes when you are using the most effective methods possible and then, moving forwards, it’s really simple. Watch this video of us working with a dog called Forrest – from before to after was about 6 minutes.
When raising a puppy, the best approach is to gain and keep attention from day one. By taking a proactive approach, you remove the chances of difficult behaviours occurring in the first place. This video shows a clip of me working through an attention exercise whilst other dogs are playing. It takes about five repetitions before I’ve got all of the attention and the puppy is ignoring the other dogs playing.
If you want to learn more about how to get maximum results from minimum input so that you and your dog or puppy can get on and enjoy life together then get in touch!
We offer a four week residential training course, where your dog will come and stay with WKD Trained Dogs. We will teach your dog general obedience to ensure they behave correctly in your home.Meet our WKD Team
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