Reinforcing Dog Training at Home

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABasic Obedience Class is a great starting point for any successful pet and owner relationship. Regardless of whether your dog is a rescue dog or from a breeder, new or old, stubborn or perfect, training is a tool that will last a lifetime. Like any educational class, dog obedience class comes with homework, which is imperative to your success.

Being a part of a class setting has many advantages, it gives you a sense of commitment, introduces your dog to controlled social situations, and allows you to find kinship in other dog owners who may be facing the same struggles as you. It is not however, the one hour a week solution to all your dog behavior problems.  The one hour class teaches you how to teach your dog. You will learn how to communicate effectively with your dog and utilize positive reinforcement techniques to obtain the behavior you want from your dog.

Why homework is important for dog training:

  • Practice makes perfect-Reinforcement is a primary learning tool for canines. You didn’t just wait for your child to start walking or talking, you worked with them in small blocks of time, building to a biggerr accomplishment, thinking of dog training in the same capacity.
  • Bond with your dog-For most dogs, taking a ride in the car is a big excitement, your dog probably looks forward to training more than you will ever know, however what they really want is your attention and approval. The one-on-one time you spend with your dog during the training process is a bonding experience and builds trust and respect. Establishing yourself as the “alpha” in the house is essential to having an obedient dog.
  • Set up boundaries in your home-the basic commands are of little use if you aren’t implementing them. If you are worried your dog is going to run out the front door into the street, the commands of “sit” and “wait” will do you no good if they are never practiced at home. Practicing commands in the place you want them performed allows your dog to learn desired behaviors more quickly.
  • Build a strong foundation-Although training classes build on basic principles and advance to various commands, the foundation of any training is you. You are the leader of your dog and therefore you determine how much success the two of you will have in this process. Homework will help you master the lessons each week so you can continue to grow and your dogs behavior will continue to improve. Just like babies can’t walk before they crawl most dogs can’t “wait” before they “sit”.
  • Involve other family members-While families are welcome to attend training classes together, it’s not always possible for everyone to pack up on a school night to come out for a training class. Homework is the perfect time to get other family members involved in the training process. They can learn the commands from you as you practice with your dog, allowing everyone in the family to experience the advantages of a well trained dog.

How much time do I need to dedicate to dog training homework?

Before you have flashbacks of the hours spent at the dining room table with your High School Calculus book, take a deep breath; this isn’t that kind of homework.

For most dogs (and people) two 15-minute mini sessions of practice a day will suffice. Many people feed their dogs twice a day, or are present for two of their dogs meals. A few minutes of practice at breakfast and dinner time will engage your dogs brain and reinforce the commands and process of training. 30-minutes a day goes by in a blink so there’s no need to worry about “finding the time” to practice at home, the time is already there, you just have to take advantage of it.

When should I practice dog training at home?

Practicing prior to meal times is a natural fit for most families to practice training. Where and when you decide to practice is, of course, up to you but remember to keep each practice session short and sweet. Choose a time when you are relaxed and balanced; not wound up from rushing around and frustrated or mad. You should always keep a calm and balanced energy when training your dog.

If you are interested in Basic Obedience Class, our next Level One session begins on Dec. 11th. The class will be on Wednesday evenings from 5:45pm to 6:45pm for 6 weeks and the total cost is $150. We keep our obedience classes small to maximize the experience, so payment is required to reserve your place. For more information on our Behavior Buddies positive reinforcement training give us a call at Camp (586) 445-9663 or email us at to find out more about how you can become a successful pet owner.


3 responses to “Reinforcing Dog Training at Home

  1. Pingback: What You Need for Training Class |

  2. Pingback: The Best New Years Resolution for Your Dog |

  3. Pingback: January is National Train Your Dog Month |

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