Training and ConsistencySuccessful dog training is all about consistency. One thing we know about dogs is that they understand consistency and accept consistent communication quickly. Without consistency in training, your furry friend will become confused and communicating with them becomes difficult. Inconsistency can also reinforce undesirable behaviours from your pet.
So, what exactly is consistency is in dog training? It is about setting and sticking to clear guidelines that even your dog can understand. Whatever you want your dog to learn or communicate to them, it is much easier for them to understand if you are consistent. Dogs learn based on what has happened in the past. This is why they are easy to train and can behave reliably, as long training is done correctly and consistently!
You may be wondering where to begin with a consistent dog training regime. We have got you covered with the best pointers to get you on the right track.
Choose Verbal Cues Carefully
It is critical that each verbal cue for a given behaviour must be the same whenever the dog hears it. When dogs are given cues, they associate it with the action they need to do. Say you want your dog to lie down on the floor. There are different cues you can use to get them to do this but choose one and stick to it. For example, “down” is different to “get down” or “go down” or “lie down”, and interchanging between these may get your dog confused. You might even find your dog completely unresponsive to your cues. Keep it simple, pick a specific cue and get everybody on board with using it.
Top tip: If your pet doesn’t respond, use a lure such as a yummy dog treat, or try moving to a less distracting environment.
Make sure everyone is on the same page
Make sure everyone in the household is applying the same rules for your dog. If jumping is not allowed, jumping is not allowed on all members of the household. Just one person allowing and rewarding this behaviour can throw all training off track. Dogs can be blamed for this behaviour and called ‘stubborn’. However, it is likely not their fault at all! They are getting rewarded by different household members for different behaviours. Luckily, dealing with this is simple. To get everybody on board with the rules, communicate the guidelines for your pet with the whole household. We suggest having regular family meetings to decide on cue words and make sure everyone understands the rules.
Generalize your pet’s behaviours
When a behaviour has been generalized, your pet will perform the same action no matter the location. To generalize a behaviour, start at home until your pet understands the command. Then also practice it in a new location whilst this newly learned behaviour is fresh in their mind. Make sure to reinforce commands consistently in different locations and they should generalize in no time.
Manage your environment
This is all about making sure your dog has not got the chance to make the wrong choice and be rewarded for it. Adding distractions of company or a new environment can make or break whether your dog listens. You could be on a stroll in the park and practicing your recall with your pup, meanwhile your dog is not responding, but enjoying rolling in some mud. In this instance, your dog is actually being reward for not responding to your recall by continuing to enjoy the mud. Manage this behaviour by first starting walks on a long leash. Similarly, you can put a leash on your dog during the early stages of training when you have a visitor to prevent any behaviour you do not want. Managing the environment requires you to keep training in mind in everything you do with your pup. This is all part of consistency because you do not want your dog to be rewarded for doing the wrong thing, which is confusing for them and can mean they do not obey commands.
Make a daily routine
When a dog knows what to expect in their day-to-day life, they can relax and learn behaviours much more easily. Dogs are confronted with confusing and challenging scenarios on a day to day basis, including remaining calm on walks when faced with traffic, behaving during your dinner time and being left alone at home for hours at a time. With a fixed, consistent daily routine, your dog can understand these challenges as part of normal life.
Enjoy training your dog. It allows you to bond and get to know each other better. You both benefit from training the more consistent you are. Spend 15 minutes daily training your dog, and split up this practice into short 2-5 minute sessions.
There you have it, our top tips to ensure training your dog consistently is a breeze. To take training to the next level, take a look at our GPS Pet Tracker. It is a great tool for managing the environment and ensuring a consistent training regimen for your dog.