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Tuesday Training Byte: Patience is the name of the game

If you have a goal of what you hope to accomplish with your dog, sometimes it seems like the impossible dream, and that your dog will never get there. Having patience while your dog figures it out can be the challenge. If we want our pup to walk calmly by our side without pulling and zigzagging everywhere, we must start small with low distractions. If you are needing to walk your dog from the parking lot to training class, if the pup has only mastered walking 10 steps in a straight line without pulling, don't expect him to make it the 20 yards. If you have a smaller dog or pup, I suggest carrying him, at least a good portion of the way. Otherwise while the dog drags you the distance, you are reinforcing the exact behavior you don't want. If your dog does well for ten steps, then stop and praise/reward the dog. Have the pup do a couple of easy things like sit, or shake before moving forward again for another ten steps. You can get your dog's attention by speaking in a happy voice, "Yes! Good job!" marking the good behavior. This helps set the dog up for success by asking him to do something manageable. Once this level has been mastered, only then do we increase the time, distance, and amount of distraction. This takes time and patience. Some days the training seems to progress, then all of a sudden your dog "sees a squirrel" and nothing is working. When this happens, change to doing some other things that your pup does well and call it good. This helps you and your pup not be frustrated and soured on training. Happy training!

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