What mood is the dog in the best mindset to learn?FamilyPet
Just like us, dogs have moods. And just like us, their moods can affect their learning. When you’re feeling tired, unwell or irritable, aren’t you also a little unfocused and forgetful? The same holds true for your dog—and, remember, learning new tricks and commands is very hard work for your pet!
The best time to train your dog is when he’s feeling relaxed, calm and confident. If the dog is excitable, he won’t be able to stay focused. If he is worried or fearful, he will be concentrating on that—and not on you and the commands.
These guidelines will help you make sure your sessions are happy and rewarding—for both of you:
- Connect with your dog. Remember, dogs don’t learn the same way we do, but rather, by observation, association and repetition. Be patient!
- Stay relaxed and make sure you smile. The best mood for your dog to learn is when he’s relaxed—but dogs often take cues from the owners. If the dog sees you tense, nervous and unhappy, he’ll react in the same way—and the session will be less than productive.
- Keep the training fun and enjoyable. It can, and should, be a bonding experience for both of you. You both should feel a sense of accomplishment when you’re done. Give lavish praise and keep treats handy. What to do if he isn’t responding? Whatever you do, don’t get angry or frustrated, because the dog will too. Stop for a few seconds and then return– but go to a different and easier command.
- Keep training sessions short, no more than 10 minutes. Remember, this is very hard work for your dog and just a few seconds of intense focus can tire him out. You can always resume the next day.
- Sometimes, just like humans, your dog might be too distracted or excitable. If you sense this after a few minutes, stop and resume later the same day.
- Do observe the dog’s behavior because sometimes listlessness or inactivity can be a sign of a health problem. If it increases in duration or intensity, it might be time to see the vet.