Dog Training: What are you working on today?



What are you working on with your dogs right now?

There’s always something, because as you know, training never really ends.

Some new dog owners seem to be under the impression that training ends after the dog passes beginning obedience classes or after the dog completes six sessions with a personal trainer.

But dog training never ends.

I have taken my dog to obedience classes for at least one session a year for the last seven years. We’ve repeated the “novice” obedience class about five times. It’s not because we’ve failed the class. It’s because there’s always more to learn.

The majority of the dog owners in those classes are capable of teaching the class themselves, even if they don’t consider themselves professional dog trainers.

Even dog trainers area always training their dogs. Even dog trainers take their dogs to obedience classes.

Not that obedience classes are for everyone or that classes are the only way to train a dog. They’re not.

Almost every day I practice training with my 8-year-old dog Ace.

  • On walks, I reward him for heeling and “watch” for making eye contact.
  • I walk at different speeds and change directions and reward him for following along. Sometimes I run with my dog.
  • I encourage him to stand on different surfaces and obstacles like park benches and to climb up low trees.
  • I teach him new tricks like “get your leash” and “catch!”
  • I’m always taking Ace to new places and events like different coffee shops.
  • I’m always introducing him to different dogs so he can maintain his social skills.

I don’t know how many thousands of hours I’ve spent training my dog, but it’s never something that ends just because he’s reached a certain age or because he’s mastered a certain number of commands.

With dogs, there’s always another challenge. It’s one of the things I love about dogs.

There’s always a goal. Always a reward. Always more to learn.

Black Lab mix sits on a park bench on a hike

What are you working on with your dog right now?

Let us know how old your dog is and how long you’ve had him or her.

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14 Readers Commented

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  1. Emma on March 10, 2014

    We just taught my puppy sister to ring the doggy doorbell when she wants to come inside and she starts Obedience 2 on Wed. night.

  2. Linda - Alfie's Blog on March 10, 2014

    We’re still training agility weekly and taht comes with lots of fun homework. Apart from that we continue to practice ‘watch me’, heel, recall and sit/down stays daily. Alfie loves it so much he thinks its actually play :-)

  3. Elizabeth on March 11, 2014

    Belle is constantly working on staying in my area while in the yard, and recalls. D.O.G. is working on his look cues and his recall. He does great on staying in an area.

  4. Edith on March 11, 2014

    Walking on a loose leash is a constant challenge that needs daily work. Simon is ball-driven, but I have been trying something new. We go to a large field and I feign throwing the ball in one direction, but actually throw it in another. Sometimes he sees the general direction it flies, and sometimes he doesn’t. I then tell him to find it. I am amazed at how well he is doing. It may take him a bit, but he eventually finds the ball earning ecstatic praise from me. I don’t do this every day, but the change and the fact he has to use his nose and mind is so good for him.

  5. Jes on March 12, 2014

    Can you reccomend some tips on introducing your dog to new dogs or point me to an article? I’d like to continue working on that skill. My greyhound prefers certain dog breeds over others & I would like her to ignore dogs she doesn’t like instead of reacting with a snarl.

  6. Lindsay Stordahl Author on March 12, 2014

    Sure, do you mean on a leash or meeting dogs in general? I would definitely suggest obedience classes if you can swing it. It’s not so much to learn obedience, but to practice being calm around other dogs.

    Here are a few of my posts:

    Staying calm around other dogs on a leash: http://www.thatmutt.com/2014/03/03/my-dog-gets-too-excited-around-other-dogs-on-walks/

    http://www.thatmutt.com/2014/01/27/dog-training-stop-my-dogs-excitement-around-other-dogs/

    Introducing dogs:

    http://www.thatmutt.com/2009/05/07/how-to-introduce-dogs/

    http://www.thatmutt.com/2009/08/17/introducing-dogs/

  7. weliveinaflat on March 13, 2014

    We’ve had Donna for just over a year. She’s 5 but still learns incredibly fast, I sometimes think I’m the one hampering her learning with my laziness and poor training skills :P We are working on leg weaving at the moment.

  8. nancyspoint on March 13, 2014

    Thanks for the reminder that we should never “be done” training our dogs. Right now Sophie is outside barking for no reason. Something to work on I guess! ha

  9. danceswithwolverines on May 18, 2014

    I’m currently trying to work on my dogs stress biting. Which includes training house mates to not do what triggers her fear and not yell at me when she does bite, as it makes the dog even more aggressive with them and it causes her to bite them with the intent on harming them whenever They pass her. All this before I move in a few weeks because people don’t seem to listen to “dont rush the dog, slowly give her a cookie and then you can pet her.” When you walk her. Apparently, it makes more sense to run at her yelling about how cute she is. Yelling and running being her main triggers.

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