As a PetParent, it’s fun to set some fitness or training goals that will inspire you to keep life interesting for you and your pup! Goals are a great way to keep yourself on track and accountable for your actions, and we all know our dogs make great partners- no matter the task at hand! With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of dog training goals for pets & their parents. Half of these goals are directed right towards the pets in our lives, and the other half are goals for Pet Parents to focus on specifically. How many of these can you cross off your list this year?
1. Learn to Sit
If your pup doesn’t already have a solid SIT, ensure that this is the year they learn it. It’s the most basic of canine commands, but can be extremely powerful as well. The SIT command can really go a long way in calming your dog down during an exciting situation, and helping them to re-focus their attention on you. It’s a great behavior to utilize when greeting strangers in the home or out and about, and could help your pup make loads of new friends this year!
2. Consistency is Key
This one’s for you PetParents. This year, may you vow to be the most consistent pet parent you can be. Our pets thrive off routine, and we should take this into account whenever possible. Regular feeding times, bathroom breaks, walks, playtime, training sessions and more can all help your pets feel at ease and adjusted in their lives.
3. You’re going to need to ‘Leave It’
Depending on your pups personality, this can be a tough one to train, but it’s oh-so essential in many ways. There are countless situations when this command comes in handy, but it can also save your pets life in certain situations. If you walk your dogs in urban areas, chances are they will eventually come across some sort of food item that’s been tossed onto the ground that you’d rather they didn’t eat. Instead of gobbling it down quickly, a leave-it command can have you and your pup prancing happily on your way. Once a leave-it command has been taught (typically in regards to food) it can be generalized to other scenarios, such as leaving another dog alone at the park etc.
4. Take up Clicker Training
Clicker training is essentially a a blast for every dog who tries it. When you begin clicker training you click, then give a treat, so your pup associates the click sound with reward. Your dog will think this is literally the best game ever, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your pup picks things up once you’ve really started clicker training together. What tricks will you teach them next?
5. Work on that long recall
The dog park is the perfect place to perfect your long recall, after the two of you have practiced on a long lead elsewhere, because you know your dog is safely fenced in (and also highly distracted) while you work to call him back to you. Being the pet parent to a dog who reliably returns to your side when you ask (no matter what) is like giving yourself the gift of peace of mind. It will take many training sessions, a lot of dedication, and continuous practice for your dog to achieve an excellent long recall, but this is one trick that is undoubtedly worth the effort!
6. Try different ‘valued’ treats
If you’re a pet parent who typically trains with the same type of treat (boring biscuits anyone?) for each training session, then 2015 is the year for you to switch up you treat game. By incorporating ‘high value’ and ‘low value’ treats into your training sessions, you can keep your dogs interest piqued, as well as keep him motivated. Use a treat pouch, and mix up biscuit type treats, bits of jerky, a few bites of kibble, and some tidbits of cheese- pull treats out at random as rewards. Your pup will be ever so attentive as he’ll never know what treat the pouch might produce next!
7. Heed the Heel
It’s true that many dogs have poor walking skills, either having never learned them in the first place, or not being held to the walking rules for long enough that they’re not leading the way. Regardless, a dog who walks nicely on his leash is a much better representative of the canine community than a dog who’s wild or even out of control. Learning to heel is a useful skill because it applies in so many situations, and truly does help keep your dog safe while walking in urban areas. Having trouble teaching your dog to heel? A head halti could help!
8. Schedule Off Leash Time
At least once a week, make an effort to get your adoring pooch out somewhere where he can run free of the leash for a bit. A dog park is great, because he can socialize at the same time, and often they are well kept, fenced, and have provided water and pick up bags- making life easy on the Pet Parent.
9. Learning Your Place
Training your dog a ‘go to place’ command is certainly a worthy goal for this year! PetParents utilize this technique differently, but the guiding principle is always the same- give the dog a target to retreat to when the command is given. Many pet parents choose their dogs bed or kennel as the ‘place’ their dog will be sent to during the training and then final application of the command. A ‘go to your bed’ trick is not only great to show off to your friends with, but also comes in very handy if your pup is begging for dinner, underfoot, etc. A Pet Safe Train ‘n Praise can make training this particular trick easier & more fun!
10. Try Something New Together
This one is going to be specific to you and your pup, but make 2015 the year you do something you’ve always wanted to do together. Maybe it’s to take your dog out to a great hiking spot nearby, or to drive them to the nearest lake so they can dip their paws in the cool water this summer- whatever you’ve been thinking of doing with your dog- this is the year to make it happen!