Back To School
How to Make Training Fun For Your Dog — and For You
Dog training has evolved quite a lot over the past couple of decades. More and more dog trainers enthusiastically support positive training methods. Approximately 99% of dog owners believe that rewarding good behavior is most effective when training. But positive training is more than just rewarding the dog with a treat – it’s also a state of mind. When you bring a positive attitude to a dog training session, you make it fun for both you and your dog.
Not Just For Puppies
Puppies respond extremely well to positive training; they are eager to learn and want to please. Thanks to their abundance of cuteness, it’s easy for a puppy training session to be fun and photo worthy. But, training experts emphasize that this method also works for dogs of all ages. Young, middle aged and older dogs are all capable of learning new tricks if you can pique their interest and positively reward their good behavior.
Give Your Dog Plenty Of This For Good Training Results
Dogs respond to and understand enthusiasm. When potty training a puppy – you will often hear dog trainers tell us to “celebrate” with your pup when they go potty outside. Why? Because puppies and adult dogs intuitively know when we are delighted. Your puppy interprets our enthusiasm about whatever he is doing as something fun. In return, your puppy is going to want to repeat that behavior. When you respond to your dog with plenty of genuine enthusiasm, especially during training sessions, you make it fun and easy for him to learn.
Game Time: Hide and Seek
Games can be incorporated when teaching your dog important cues. For instance, you can train your dog to have a reliable recall by playing hide and seek. It’s a game that dogs love to play and it strengthens the dog’s desire to respond to the recall cue.
- First, hide behind a tree in the yard or the couch in your living room. Make a high-pitched noise followed by your dog’s name and the word “come.”
- Repeat the noise and the word “come” so your dog can follow the sound.
- The moment he finds you, drop to the ground and celebrate with affection and lots of praise!
By playing this game you are conditioning your dog to think that you are more fun than anything else. Therefore, when you call, he will come to you when called regardless of the distraction.
Engaging in fun games makes learning fun. For some dogs, engaging in a game of fetch or playtime with a favorite toy is even more fun than receiving a treat. Dogs may get bored or complacent over time with the same treat or toy and some dogs might not be motivated by food.
Mix it up and test out which types of rewards your dog responds to best. Every dog has their own preference for what inspires them to succeed. Once you find what motivates your own dog, it’s like winning the training lottery.
If your dog is “toy” motivated, try putting a few of his toys away each night. Then, in the morning, use those same toys as rewards for things you have asked your dog to do (e.g., sit, come, down, stay, etc.).
Dogs value the things they have earned, so using toys as payment for a job well done will keep even the oldest toys interesting.
To see some of our favorite dog toys click, and
Results are Rewarding Too
Eventually you won’t need to rely on giving your dog a treat to get him to respond to cues. Because you’ve kept training fun, he will happily respond to the cues because he wants to please you. Happy, obedient dogs make life more fun for everyone!
Do you have a dog that lacks confidence? Using positive reinforcement methods during training sessions and day-to-day life can really help to change your dog’s attitude and behavior. Giving your dog a job/command (e.g., “sit”) and rewarding with a “good sit” will boost their self-confidence and make them feel like a useful member of the pack.
Punishment NEVER Fits the Crime
No matter what you’re dog has done wrong, physical punishment is never called for. Physically reprimanding your dog could cause your dog to be afraid of you and even worse, cause him/her to feel the need for self-defense. Positive reinforcement training is the only way to build a healthy, trusting relationship with your dog.