Ways to keep dog training sessions interesting

Have you ever gotten bored working on "Sit, Down and Stay?" Sometimes it helps to have some suggestions for ways to make training a bit more interesting. Here are some simple ways to keep it fun for you and your dog.

  1. Reserve top tier chew toys, bones or treats for a point in the training session when your dog improves his performance. For instance, when he holds a Stay for a longer time than the last session, give him his chew toy as a reward.
  2. Hide Kongs or other stuffable toys around the house filled with your dog's dinner. Work on a training session and then allow him to search for his dinner after he does something outstanding.
  3. Work on improving criteria. For instance, the criteria for Come When Called include speed of the behavior, avoiding distractions, the position of your dog after he comes to you, etc.
  4. Work on basic training exercises on walks. Many people don't work on periodic sits, downs and stays on walks. This will improve reliability by providing your dog practice training in a variety of locations.
  5. Work with a friend on two-dog training goals such as working on attention around distractions, coming when called running next to each other, and come up with creative two-dog tricks.
  6. Practice a 5-minute training session without using any verbal cues, and just use hand signals.
  7. Move away from treats and use more verbal encouragement.
  8. Use toys as rewards. If your dog likes to play tug or fetch, do quick training sessions and reward with a quick game of tug or fetch.

Hopefully these ideas spark some other ideas for training. Often simple changes can keep things interesting.

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