They say an old dog can’t learn new tricks, but sometimes, young dogs have problem learning them too. So what happens when your pup doesn’t make it to their obedience school graduation? Try, try and try again.
WomensForum spoke with Emily Jay, the owner of Sharpie’s Place Dog Training, about what you need to know before enrolling your dog in their second round of obedience training.
According to Jay, the first step is to figure out what went wrong the first time.
“Figure out what problems the dog has and why they failed,” says Jay. “Work on those problems first to build up to better obedience.”
Once you know what your dog needs to work on, consistency is key.
“Work on it everyday,” says Jay. “Take five to 10 minutes out of your day, two to three times a day to train your dog. It will help them realize they have to do this stuff, it’s just not an option.”
Once your dog has a solid foundation of what’s expected of them, it’ll be easier for them to learn more commands and behaviors, even if it is for the second or third time around.
Positive reinforcement can also help your dog retain their training, according to Jay.
“Give a treat, not every time but once in awhile, to keep them happy,” says Jay. “They also like when you use a high pitched voice, pet them, telll them good job, good sit, good whatever they did.
Jay also stressed the importance of always be positive while training your pet and never yelling at them.
“Dogs definitely pick up on how you’re feeling.” - Emily Jay
Similarly, Jay says it’s important of correcting your dog’s behavior only when you catch them in the act.
“If you don’t catch them in the act, they don’t know that they did anything wrong,” says Jay. “So if you’re yelling at them, they don’t know what they did…it’s a common mistake and it could make them more aggressive, it could make them afraid of you.”
Jay says that there’s hope even for the most stubborn of dogs. They just need a little extra work.
“You just need to be even more consistent,” says Jay. “Work with the dog more often, because they think it’s just an option and they don’t have to do it but if you stay consistent with it they’ll eventually learn.”
Jay has seen many success stories, even with older dogs who have been through obedience school a time or two already.
“I trained a dog that was 6-years-old and had terrible anxiety,” says Jay. “It took work, but eventually the dog was perfectly well trained and loved to listen to its owners.”
So there you have it, no dog is a lost cause. With just a little consistency and hard work, your precious pup will be walking across the graduation stage in no time.