Tips for Success

How to help your dog retain skills.

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With Harley Quinn, I started to train her regularly and maintained a set schedule for her. Unfortunately, with every move during her first year, we changed our schedule many times. Also, as the household members changed, so did the consistency level. While I was trying to teach her to do one thing, my parents would let her do whatever she wanted, negating the process. As our home became more stable, so did her training. I still have some backslides (especially when she spends the weekend with my mom), but she’s making lots of progress. We can now leave her out and not worry about her using the bathroom inside. She’s also learned not to bolt outside as soon as the door opens. As long as I stay happy and motivated to teach, she stays happy and motivated to learn.

No matter how you choose to train your dog, consistency is key. I want to provide some tips that I have found through previous research and personal experiences to help your dog retain the things you have taught your pet.

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Tip #1

Get the entire house involved.

When you start a training program, majority of the time, it’s just one person doing all of the training while everyone else reaps the benefits. If you’re looking for faster results, make sure everyone in the house is following the training methods with the dog. If you teach your dog to sit quietly at the door before going outside, everybody should have the dog sit quietly. This way it becomes habit.

Tip #2

Maintain a schedule

This is especially important when potty training your dog. You must have a set schedule for feeding your dog and allowing them to use the bathroom. This lets them know that they must hold it for a certain length of time. It also reassures them that they will get to go out everyday and will be less likely to go in the house. You can set your schedule to work with your families needs, but keep in mind that smaller dogs have smaller bladders, and young and elderly dogs have less bladder control. Your schedule should also reflect the needs of your dog.

Tip #3

Be open to new things

If you’ve been trying one method for a large amount of time and have not been getting the results you want, try a new method. It may be that this method just doesn’t work with the way your dog learns. It also could be that your dog is bored and the incentives of that method does not motivate the dog to follow the command. While some dog are food driven and would prefer a treat after doing something good, others prefer play and access to the toy of their choice would be a greater reward. Whatever the case, do research and be willing to change, but once you start to see positive results, stay consistent.

Tip #4

Be Patient

You dog doesn’t innately know what you want them to do. They have to be taught. Just like a toddler, each dog will learn in their own time. Each breed and individual dog has different timelines for learning. Don’t allow yourself to be frustrated because your dog isn’t learning as fast as you thought, or they had a backslide. It’s all apart of the training process. Don’t give up. Your dog will eventually get it.

Tip #5

Always remember to love your dog…. even when they make mistakes.

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