I don’t work enough on Obedience Training.
There. I said it. You have no idea how guilty I’ve been feeling about this! Don’t get me wrong, all three of my dogs are pretty good with the basics, and we do practice when we go on walks and what-not, but I know that I should be working with them multiple times a day. I’m not going to sit here and give you all the reasons why I didn’t work with them more consistently, but I moving forward I am not going to let any excuses get in the way of our practice time.
None of my dogs are food aggressive (phew!) but they lose their minds when treats are added to any scenario. Really, they go b-a-n-a-n-a-s! While this is great because they are all super food motivated, and therefore easier to train, it also means that I have to work with them individually so that I can keep their focus entirely on me. Otherwise, they are far more concerned with who-got-how-many-treats and end up paying more attention to the other dogs than me. Eventually I want to get them to the point where I can work with them as a group, but in the mean time, I need to strengthen their individual skillz.
Each morning I have been taking the pups out, one at a time, and reviewing the basics in our front yard. There are other dogs near us so this provides us with just enough distractions to keep things interesting, but not exciting enough to make it impossible to focus. Thankfully we live at the back of a quiet little cup-de-sac so it is safe and easy for me to practice “stay” with them and get a good distance away without having to worry about a car coming.
It’s funny to see the differences in their personality from strictly an obedience standpoint. Tag is my super rock star. I can put her in “stay” and walk, with my back turned, to the end of the street and just stare at her for minutes on end before giving her the “come” command. She never breaks “stay” even though I can literally see her twitching to run over. Then there is Buddy. This is the one aspect where he is middle of the road. He’ll go into “stay” but I can’t get more than a couple of yards away before he breaks it. Usually he is just more interested in investigating his surroundings than anything else. Then there is Maggie. I actually think she is the smartest of the three (yay pitties!) but I can literally see her wheels spinning when I give her a command. “Do I listen?” “Is she serious?” “Maybe I’ll just test her out a little.” I can usually only get a yard or so away from her before I am in danger of her breaking “stay” before I give the command.
I can’t really say what prompted this need to confess my sins or the desire to mold my dogs into the obedient
little devils angels I know they are capable of being, but take this as my solemn vow to start working more with them. Please, help hold me accountable!
How often do you work with your dog on their obedience training? Do you have a long repertoire of mad skillz or are you happy with just the basics like “sit” and “stay”? Do you practice solo or around other dogs? I’m dying to know!
p.s. If you didn’t see the link I posted on Facebook earlier, I highly recommend you check out Kiko Pup on YouTube! She is so great at simply and efficiently breaking down the best ways to train your dog force-free (which is the only acceptable way to train them!)