Our lives today are very hectic. We’re always racing from one thing to the next and never seem to have enough hours in the day to get it all done. We often carry this “gotta get it done NOW!” attitude over to training our dogs. We expect our dogs to do it RIGHT NOW! I see it often when clients are training their dogs. The person says “sit” and if the dog doesn’t sit in less than a second, the person is repeating. And repeating. And repeating.
The most important “tool” in your training arsenal is not a physical tool. It’s your patience. We are in a rush, but our dogs don’t necessarily feel the same sense of urgency that we do. When I ask the person who just repeated “sit” several times how many times she thinks she said it, she rarely knows. She might guess three but when I tell her it was really seven times, she’s surprised. We don’t even realize we’re doing it.
Instead, I say, give your cue one time and then wait. Take a deep breath if you need to in order to refrain from continuously talking. In many cases, the dog merely needed that extra second or two and then does what was asked.
This is just one example of how patience (and refraining from talking too much!) can actually help your dog to perform better. There are countless others. When you are about to start your next training session, ask yourself if you have everything you need before you start. Make sure patience is on that list.