We’re hoping “Teach Your Dog,” was one of your new year’s resolutions.
In the article in which we introduced Train Your Dog Month to you, we promised we’d help you get organized and ready so that teaching your dog new things this month is a breeze. We’re making good on that promise with this article.
WHAT YOU NEED TO TRAIN YOUR DOG
Let’s set you and your dog up for success. To keep it easy, here’s your short list of supplies:
treats, clicker, treat container.
Treats: Why are we using food? Your dog has to eat, right? You’re going to feed him at least one meal a day (maybe more), so why not use those calories for training! Instead of dry kibble, you’re going to use something soft and delicious for training. Think: cheese, hot dogs, chicken, pepperoni, etc.
Activity: Look in your fridge right now and write down 3 things you could use as a dog treat. Here’s a worksheet to help you get organized.
Store your treats in the fridge in a container with a tight fitting lid. [No plastic baggies.] You can get GladWare plastic containers at your local grocery for just a few bucks and they’re just the kind of storage you need for this. Check out the article (with video!) showing just how easy it is to make your own inexpensive, healthy treats for your dog.
Now you need to find a clicker. You can get a clicker at a big box pet supply store or online. Karen Pryor i-Click Dog Training Clicker, 3 Clickers
You don’t have to use a clicker, you can use anything that makes a distinctive noise. Check out these kid toys! Cricket Clicker Noise Makers
If you have a little extra patience, you can skip the clicker. It’ll take your dog longer to catch on and the training will be a little sloppier, but you can go it without a clicker.
Ok, that’s it! Now, the only step left is to find a good spot to store your clicker and your treats so they’ll be ready when you are! I like to put all my stuff together in the fridge. All you have to do is reach in and you’re ready to train!
Activity: Where will you store your supplies?
WHEN WILL YOU TRAIN YOUR DOG?
Take it from me: set a reasonable goal for training. Even if you want to work with your dog every day of the month, set your goal at three days a week. Like we do for our dogs, set yourself up for success. We’ve built a Train Your Dog Month calendar to track your training progress.
DON’T FORGET REWARDS (FOR YOU!)
Just like we reward our dog for tiny successes, I want you to reward yourself for those little successes. You can build in a daily small reward for every day that you train. Write your goal and your reward. And make sure you follow through by rewarding yourself for every accomplishment! You can also build in a little more valuable weekly reward. If your goal is to train three times a week and you reach it, in addition to the daily reward (30 minutes of your guilty pleasure tv show, for instance or downloading a song from iTunes), build in a weekly reward for reaching your 3x/week goal (maybe your reward is a nap during the day on the weekend [a real luxury and very valuable around here!]). Of course, you’re definitely going to build in an end-of-the-month B I G reward for reaching the big goal. Make this something really valuable, something worth working for.
In our next article we’ll talk about what to teach your dog. So hurry and get all your supplies and get organized so you’re ready to get started!
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