Our regular contributor, Karen Boyce of Beastly Thoughts Professional Dog Services (BTPDS) gives us her take on how your New Year’s resolutions for your dogs should look.
New Year’s Resolutions for Dogs
There are very few things that the vast majority of people can agree on, but I am pretty sure that nearly all of us think 2020 “should do one”! So, let’s raise a toast to 2021.
And with 2021, comes the good old New Year Resolutions. A chance to sort out all the things we feel we didn’t get quite get right in the year before. This time, I include my own dog’s training in my resolutions! What? Yep, I need to get some extra training into my young German Shepherd, Evie.
I have a goal for extra training for the dog, but goals aren’t enough. What I need is a system to ensure I reach those goals. Perhaps you would you like to join in? As I am sure, everyone’s dogs could do with some more training so if you’re keen to take part, here is how my system is going to operate:
The key to training is to incorporate the work required into your daily routine. And the EASIEST way to do this is to add it to your normal routine with the dog. Remember: a training session doesn’t have to be for too long. The dog has to provide the behaviour you want and be rewarded for it. He will then remember it!
So, my system will go something like this:
If you provide your dog with two or three meals a day or even four for a pup, you can grab a handful of the food (or some tasty treats) and ask your dog for 10 different kinds of behaviour. Start with a couple of easy ones, but don’t shy away from making it harder or increasing the easy ones each time, eg a quicker sit or a long wait.
All dogs have to go out for a wee during the day and for pups, this could mean loads of times. This opportunity is a fantastic way to get some training in. Again, ask for a few behaviours before opening the door; assuming the pup is old enough to hang on! Once the dog has done its business, add in a few more. A “down” and a “wait” before going out with some name recognition and a few recalls every time will go a long way to helping you in the real world.
Then, on to the going-out for walks or maybe just going out in the car. ALWAYS start with some name recognition, some catches or fun stuff and then a little play with the dog’s favourite toy.
Finally, out on walks before you let the dog off-lead, add in a few behaviours and then throughout the walk, do a couple of what we call “pit stops”, engage with the dog and go back through its current repertoire. Maybe you could add a new behaviour at this point.
And that’s it. By the end of the day, you should have completed around thirty extra minutes of key training.
Result – system in place and goals to be achieved.
New Year’s Resolutions for Dogs – Top Tip
Don’t forget to make sure you, and other family members, aren’t untraining the dog for the rest of the day. So, ensure people only ask for behaviours they know they can get; otherwise, the dog will start ignoring commands when needed.
Karen, 57, originally from Shrewsbury, but now living in Froncysyllte, has been helping families and their pets for 20 years as part of BTPDS.
Karen Boyce is the owner of BTPDS, the largest pet dog training establishment in Wales. BTPDS specialise in puppy training and reactive dogs, but offer a whole host of obedience training classes, lectures, webinars and online training hubs and groups. Karen was named Animal Star Awards Dog Trainer/Behaviourist of the Year in 2019.
We hope you enjoyed reading our article “Welcome 2021 – “Furwell” to 2020“. If you’d like to read more of our articles about looking after your dog, click here.