March 8, 2011

Tuesday Training Tip – Learning

Author: Michele Hatley

A Tuesday Training Trip From Our Staff Trainer Michele Hatley

One of the most important things to remember when working with our animals is that most of what they learn does not occur during a training session (i.e. you have treats ready and you have a training goal in mind), but rather outside of that time.

Think about how much time is spent training your dog and how much time is not. There is a lot more time spent during the day when our dogs are picking up on behaviors that you aren’t even aware of. Think of it this way, your child doesn’t stop learning when they’ve left school, right? Neither does your dog!

It is very important to pay attention to what your dog is learning from their environment because this can be what leads to bad manners and other problems. Let’s say you don’t like it when your dog is barking at something outside, so you open the door to let him out. Over time what your dog has learned is that barking at the door will get you to let him outside. Pay attention to what you are doing and what you may be accidentally reinforcing. You just may be training something without knowing it!

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