My Training Journey

We all know that it is important to train our dogs but how many of us actual take the time to train our dogs on a regular basis.  I keep trying to train on a regular basis but I don’t always succeed; the excuses are many:

  • I don’t have time
  • I don’t have time (am I repeating myself?!)
  • Did I say I don’t have time!?
  • I don’t know what to train
  • I don’t know how to train that trick, skill, behaviour
  • I’ve tried but my dog is too distracted, shuts down, is too old, is too young, won’t pay attention to me, etc

So I thought I would start writing a blog to document my training journey; the ups, the down, the success and in doing so, I hope to help you find the time (5 minutes will do it!), give you ideas, and provide encouragement to guide and support you on your training journey.

To start, I would like to introduce you to both of my dogs.

Marley SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAis 9.5 years old.  I always wanted to train him but when he joined our household from the SPCA at 5 months of age; I was traveling for a living, was home on weekends only, and couldn’t get to training classes (there wasn’t as much on-line as there is now).  I did train him to SIT, DOWN, and STAND with verbal and hand signals.  I had no luck training loose leash walking or a recall when he was younger (something I could easily do now!).  Marley loves being outside and is a confident dog who will walk and explore well away from me; there isn’t much that is more exciting for Marley than being outside off-leash.  When we are training, he is easily distracted.  I didn’t know that I could train him to pay attention to me when he was young and now that he is older it is easy to lose him during a training session if the training session goes on for too long (sometime too long is more than 30 seconds!) and training outside is a definite challenge!

Loki joined our household as an older rescue when she was 2.5 years old.  When we got her home, that exuberant and friendly dog turned out to have major dog related food and toy resource guarding issues.  She Happy Lokiwould turn on Marley and pin him to the ground if he was given food in her presence.  If another dog was in the yard and approached a toy, the same thing would happen.  If I tried to take her by the collar, she would turn and curl her lip at me with a definite ‘don’t touch me’ look.  With assistance from Jeanne at Love2Play, I was able to help Loki become comfortable with food and toys around Marley.  Over a year ago, I attend a Reactive Dog Class at Love2Play and discovered that Loki is also a fearful dog, sensitive to sounds and definitely not comfortable around other dogs.  On the other hand, she LOVES people and will jump up getting all four paws off the ground to bop them on the nose.  This is a behaviour that I have not been able to eliminate completely so now I work hard to manage it.   She loves food and learns quickly during our training session but I have to make sure I break the behaviours into easily to learn increments as she can be easily frustrated and will walk away during training if she doesn’t understand what I want.

My next post will talk about how I keep records of my training sessions.

Thanks for reading and happy training.

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