Do you rush to get rid of training aids? Do you take your leash off before your dog has a reliable recall? Do you try to remove food from training before value has been added to a skill? Do you throw the crate out while your pup still has unreliable habits in the house?
What if I told you you are making your life MUCH more difficult?
Rushing to eliminate training aids is the equivalent of going into an exam after only a few days of class. Without a solid foundation, things may fall apart
Crates should be used when you are not able to properly supervise a dog who is still learning the rules of the house. The crate is a spot to keep your dog safe from harm and to prevent them from causing harm in your home. I’ve had dogs as young as 12 months no longer need their crate, but I’ve also had a dog who was 3 years old before I trusted him alone in the house. Every dog is different. When you feel confidence and trust that your dog will be safe without your supervision, you’ll know it. Don’t be in a rush.
Regardless of what type of training collar you choose, they should be fit appropriately and should allow you to see results with the dog you are working with. If you are not seeing progress, it may be time to consider a change of equipment.
Until you are confident that your dog will listen to your voice, you should not remove the leash. If you don’t have verbal control, you’ll need physical control. Keeping physical control of your dog could save their life.
Using a leash wisely will also allow you to be consistent in your training efforts. Put in the effort for a few months and the rewards of off-leash control will be immense!
Removing treats too early will remove value from the skill and will create a dog who is disinterested. Spend enough time in the reward process that value is transferred to the skill you’re working on. Don’t remove treats from the skill until you’ve implemented a random reinforcement schedule.
Training aids are there to help our dogs understand what we’re looking for. Removing them too early will leave you frustrated with your dog and ultimately, resentful.
As always, Happy Training!
About the author: Hi! I’m Shannon and I joined the McCann team in 1999 while training Quincey, my wonderful and spirited Rottweiler, to have good listening skills. I’m the Director of Online Training and Content for McCann Professional Dog Trainers and I enjoy writing about dogs and dog training for the McCann blog. I currently share my life with 2 Tollers (Reggie & Ned) and I love helping people develop the best possible relationship with their 4-legged family members. Join us for a FREE lesson at MyDogCan.McCannDogs.com.