We've all been there. Countless treats and commands repeated ad nauseum. And yet, your dog still doesn't learn the command! It might be as simple as potty training or as challenging as a complex service dog task. Sometimes, it just seems like your dog just doesn't get it.
For new emotional support dog owners, training a resistant dog can be daunting and frustrating — particularly when it seems like they aren't listening to you. Even for more experienced handlers, it can be difficult to understand why they're not getting it.
Have faith and don't give up - there is a solution for every dog who seems resistant. Sometimes, you may not even realize that you may be complicating the learning experience. This article covers the information tou need get the excitement back and facilitate an enhanced and enjoyable training experience.
Training should always be positive, including rewards for even the smallest milestones your emotional support dog reaches. Use clear and confident language and conduct training in a happy environment for you and your dog to learn in. When there are elements of fun, love, excitement, and reward for your emotional support dog, you set the stage for success. This should be through the form of treats, life rewards and puppy love.
There is one major way to ensure positive training: reward good behaviour. By giving treats and enthusiastic loving to your emotional support dog when they do something right, your dog will notice the advantages of following these rules.
At the same time, some dogs don't develop in their lessons because the treats are the main focus. So, don't overdo your training with rewards. Only reward your emotional support dog if they've followed the plan and achieved the goal of the lesson. For instance, if you're potty training your emotional support dog in the garden and you're using treats to coerce your dog outside, then the dog isn't going to realise the point of the lesson. You may think your emotional support dog "isn't listening" but if there's a treat that's being waved around, I think we know what he's going to be focused on.
End your training on a positive note, too, where your emotional support animal will be glad to come back and do the same tomorrow!
If you feel like your emotional support dog's not getting it, you may feel a slight frustration during the lesson of the day. When you feel like your dog isn't listening, it could be because they don't understand what you mean. Make sure you're being clear in your instructions.
Use firm language and speak clearly so that your emotional support dog is aware exactly of what you're saying. Repeat action-words when learning, so that the animal can relate that word to the action.
You may not realize it, but dogs react to body language. It might be productive to change an action and relate it to a body command, to see if your emotional support dog reacts better to this type of training. In addition, an emotional support animal may have associated a command with non-verbal actions which you haven't realized. Think about how you use your body to train your emotional support dog, and your lessons could change forever.
Even a dog's name is important in early training. According to Pedigree, a name which is short with a strong consonant ensures the best clarity for your dog. This, however, isn't a big problem if your dog is already used to their names because you should always associate your emotional support dog's name with positivity. Calling a dog to their food or for some love will ensure your emotional support animal is excited to come running when you call it.
We've already mentioned about the impact of positivity and how your emotional support animal reacts to reward and communication, but another important thing is make sure your dog isn't being punished for doing something wrong.
The number one rule is to never punish or yell at your emotional support animal. Not only is unacceptable, it is counterproductive and makes learning much more difficult You may be frustrated if you feel your emotional support dog isn't listening or attending to you, but these reactions are detrimental to development and it should never be in your mindset. Instead, persevere with training and ignore any unwanted behaviour or reactions in training so your dog can always focus on the right thing.
Don't use language to antagonise your dog by raising your voice or getting angry. Ever heard of the term "constructive criticism"? Well, the same goes for dogs. A emotional support dog will have more difficulty learning if it is being criticized or shouted at - a n wants to feel the enjoyment of training and pleasing, not unpleasantries.
Punishments rarely work because you are essentially training your emotional support dog to be frightened of you. Your dog will avoid training if it feels. Again, always begin and end training with a positive mentality.
You may feel that your emotional support animal isn't listening to you, but perhaps your dog hasn't fully learned the fundamentals of training. Always remember to start simple and don't be afraid to go back to the basics to wrap up all the loose ends of early training.
It's not just the dog being trained, it's you too. You're working as a team to learn something new together, so you have to be aware of your energy, as well as your dog's. This can enlighten a solution to why they're not reacting well to what you're teaching. Maybe your emotional support animal isn't listening because you're not communicating the training environment.
Try to show your emotional support dog, don't just tell them. Never force your dog to do something, demonstrate what the action is and demonstrate gentleness to your emotional support animal. Don't be too frantic in your lessons because your dog will be able to read that too. Think of yourself as the leader of the class and how you can display to your emotional support animal that this is serious.
It's likely that you've already started doing that if you're reading this article but make sure you're always improving your knowledge and thinking about how you can develop as a trainer. There are endless books and resources to find. The more you know, the more you can help your dog.
If you're still struggling, don't be afraid to ask someone else to watch your training and give you feedback on your actions. Film yourself and see when your dog loses interest or seek advice from other friendly dog trainers. All of these actions will help to improve your energy.
If you've tried all these things and you still can't hack the training sessions, seek out some organized classes to help you in this development. There are many different options and places that you can go to where dogs and trainers can come together and be guided in development.
Ask around with friends or look to see if there's a local club not too far from you that you can reach. Vets are also good resourced because they should have some contacts to reach out too. These classes can be anything from puppy classes to obedience training and there will be something for every dog.
Do your research before and make sure you know where and what you're taking your emotional support animal to. Make sure there's a good trainer and the club has good reviews so that you can feel good about where you're going.
Remember that training should be fun for both you and your dog, this is an opportunity to build up a good relationship with training and you will both get there. Persevere and your emotional support dog will sense the passion for this training.