• February 27th, 2021
    Written by: Kimberly

    A daily training session with your dog is a great way to build his obedience skills, keep him mentally stimulated, and strengthen the bond the two of you share. No matter what age he is, there is always something new to learn. But it can be frustrating when you are trying to train and your dog keeps losing interest.

    To keep your dog engaged in the entire training session, first determine why he stops actively participating. It is generally due to your dog becoming distracted, not being motivated by the treats you’re offering, or having too much energy to settle down for a few minutes of training. Whichever the case is, these solutions can help you both get through a training session.

    Dealing with a Distracted Dog

    While distraction is most common in curious puppies, any dog can have a limited attention span. Start initial training in a quiet room during a calm part of the day so it is less likely that other people or noises will interrupt. Once your dog has mastered the basics, you can slowly introduce distractions.

    You should also keep training sessions short and fun. Limit them to 10 minutes and stay upbeat the entire time. Using special treats can make the time even more exciting for a puppy, ensuring that other things going on around her are less interesting.

    Training Non-Food Motivated Dogs

    Treats are the go to reward when your dog does something right during training. But if your dog shows no interest in the food you are offering, it can be hard to reinforce the right behavior. There can be a few reasons and solutions for this type of dog, including:

    • Lack of Hunger - Avoid feeding your dog before training as a full stomach can make your treats less appealing.
    • Low Value Treats - Kibble or training treats may be effective rewards for some dogs, but others require a little more temptation. Consider using bits of cheese, salami, deli meat, or liver.
    • More Interested in Other Rewards - If your dog has a favorite toy or goes crazy for a game of tug of war, reward training with playtime. You can use the toy as a lure in place of a treat, or end a session with a game.

    Take some time to try out other treat types, toys, or playtime to see what motivates your dog most. Knowing what he is most interested in outside of training time can guide you.

    Calming Down a High-Energy Dog

    An energetic dog can have trouble staying still for long enough to learn basic commands like sit and stay. By exercising your dog before training, such as with a walk or game of fetch, you can burn off some of the excess energy. Also look for training opportunities that involve movement, such as leash walk, impulse control, and skills like agility.

    For all dogs, no matter their temperament, it is important to make training fun and positive. Never use force to get your dog to show the right behavior, and end training sessions while you and your dog still have some energy so that there is no reason for either of you to walk away frustrated.