February is Dog Training Education Month. At Shoreline Happy Paws, we can tell you from personal experience that dog training is integral to dog parenting. It can also change lives for the better. This Dog Training Education Month, we encourage you to follow our top dog training tips to get the most out of your dog training sessions:
Apply LIMA To Your Dog Training Approach
According to CCPDT, the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, “LIMA is an acronym for the phrase “Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive”. LIMA describes a trainer or behavior consultant who uses the least intrusive, minimally aversive strategy out of a set of humane and effective tactics likely to succeed in achieving a training or behavior change objective.” In other words, LIMA attempts to keep positive experiences at the forefront of dog training techniques. Using LIMA, dog trainers, handlers, and owners can be sure that the relationship between them and the dog in training remains unaffected.
In fact, by using LIMA, dog lovers can create a profound bond with their dogs. LIMA encourages trust and connection. Positive reinforcement-based training that considers the pet’s willingness to participate (aka consent,) in conjunction with strategic approaches that aim to understand and encourage the learner, has proven to get the best, most long-lasting results.
Be Patient with Yourself and Your Dog
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is the ideal companion animal. Our dogs come to us with quirks, habits, and behaviors that may not be ideal for our home, family, etc. When looking to modify behaviors, use all the tools in your toolkit but always start with patience.
Hiring the right dog trainer is the first step in modifying your dog’s behavior or even just teaching him manners. Take your time to investigate each dog trainer’s education, techniques, and willingness to address your specific needs and concerns. Many dog trainers take a one-size-fits-all approach, which is not ideal for the individuals involved.
Once dog training has begun, take your time and be patient with your pet’s progress. The skills that you’re learning and practicing with your pet take time to master. Practice makes progress. You’ll need to be self-motivated, dedicated, and patient to get the most out of your and your dog’s learning.
Make Dog Training An Ongoing Priority
Dog training is an ongoing process similar to that of raising children. Our dogs undergo biological changes as they age and their behaviors may change as they grow. For this reason, making ongoing dog training your priority will ensure that you don’t check out when things get difficult. Your training sessions with a professional dog trainer may run out, but your responsibility to practice the skills you and your dog learned is ongoing. Remembering the basics of your training will allow you to address future minor issues without the help of a professional. You may need refreshers down the line, but making positive reinforcement a part of your daily life ensures that you are encouraging your dog’s best behavior by rewarding them along the way.
Finally, keep things fun. The more you and your dog enjoy training, the more likely you’ll prioritize practicing your dog training skills.
At Shoreline Happy Paws, we make training our priority. We work with the pets in our care using positive reinforcement and gentle guidance. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet’s behavior, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to give you our professional perspective on the matter and direct you to a positive reinforcement-based trainer in our area as needed.