Blog - Dogs and Life Skills

Simple Dog Behavior Training

Keep Reading and You Will Find Out How!

In the next few short pages, I’m going to change the way you think about your dog training... 

Many of you ask:  Why is dog training so hard to do?  Are trips back and forth going to a group class or board and train programs the most effective way to train my dog or change my dogs behavior?

What you need is the Perfect MVP™ (Minimum Valuable Practice).  

The Perfect MVP™ is a skill which allows your family to learn and apply a new skill with the least amount of effort but has the greatest impact on your dog's behavior and training.

Not long ago we had a very successful pet services business with premium boarding and training, but I noticed a huge problem with the way the industry (and us) were working with family dogs…

We know different strategies now…where and when skills are taught is just as important as how they are trained.

We live in a time when it is easier than ever to train a great family dog and now it seems so obvious why it wasn’t working very well before… 

Dog Training Problems #1:  Lewin’s Equation 

Group or board and train programs do not consider the overwhelm most environments create for you and your dog.  

It seems obvious to say, if given a choice, would you rather do something the hardest way (I know you don’t mind hard work) or the easiest, as long as the outcomes can be the same?   Easy right!  

Consider this simple formula  ß=ƒ(P,E) behavior is a function of personality and environment.  

Think about this for a second…now breath a sign of relief.  Training your dog or changing their behavior has been unnaturally hard because of the environment that you and your dog have been exposed to….not YOU and your failure to make it work.

Surely there is a better way for our dogs to learn and make it easier on our your family…

There is...and I’ll tell you about it in just a second.

Dog Training Problems #2: Instructional design

Too much information and not enough wisdom.  

There is a huge difference between being efficient with your training and being effective.

“An ounce of information is worth a pound of data.  An ounce of knowledge is worth a pound of information and an ounce of understanding is worth a pound of knowledge” (Russell Ackoff)

You can watch a thousand YouTube videos and still not have a well behaved family dog.

Many people get stuck or give up changing their dog’s behavior because they don’t get results fast enough.  The problem is ineffective execution.  You have been taught in the wrong order and with the wrong basic skills.

This is the “old school” way:

  • Drive 40 minutes (one-way) to a large building and meet with 10-30 people and their dogs you don’t know exploding stress for you and your dog.  
  • Learn “Sit,” “Down,” and “Heel” etc. with little personal attention addressing your unique challenges with your dog’s unique responses to training.
  • Practice the wrong thing in the wrong order over and over until you get overwhelmed or quit
  • Struggle to hear and follow instructions while people watch your slow progress

This is the better way:

  • Acquiring the minimum basic skills in a home environment.
  • Practice structured, easy life skills in a controlled environment that facilitates learning.
  • Switch to immersive learning through actual interaction with people and other animals.

Dog Training Problems #3: Habit Change

The daily challenges you have in your home-the habits and challenges that families have with their dogs make it hard to stick with it.  Think diet and weight loss.  Why do so many people fail…personal habits.

The problem with most classes is that you need to squeeze a lot of information in a small amount of time.

You have to manage the new information, the new skill, pay attention to your dog, make sure that your family is on the same page….and learn new dog training habits yourself...

All at the same time!!!

It’s too much. 

People don’t learn this way, and it all becomes a big waste of time and you end up blaming yourself or just giving up because you are “obviously doing something wrong.” 

Unless you have had a lot of experience training dogs, new skills take time and focus to learn and become automatic. 

Movement, presence and observational skills need to be built over time (and in the right order) for you to be effective with your dog in real life.

So…basic obedience classes (as most of us have been taught) are NOT the best say to train your dog.

Let me explain:

I know what your thinking…

If obedience classes don’t work

If doing a board and train program doesn’t work

If training “sit,” “down,” and “heel” does’t work

What should I do?

I have developed a simple method that keeps problems from preventing you from succeeding.

You don’t need to be a “dog whisperer”

You don’t need an hour or more of training every day

More importantly, every member of your family (including your kids) can be successful.

Dog Behavior Training-The Environment (Part 2)

Let's Go a Little Deeper….

Why is it so hard to train my dog?

Long and hectic trips back and forth going to a group class or board and training programs are not the most effective way to train your dog or change your dog's behavior.

Families have too many things to do, pulling them in too many directions, and you need a way to fix training and behavior problems quickly…

Not long ago we had a very successful pet services business with premium boarding and training, but we noticed a huge problem with the way the industry (and us) were training  family dogs…the environment.

Today is very different…we have a million things to do and where we train our dogs is just as important as how they are trained.

We live at a time when it’s easier than ever to train a great family dog at home.

It seems so obvious why it wasn’t working before… 

Lewin’s Equation 

Group or in-kennel board and train programs are damaging learning environments for you and your dog.  

It come down to this question:  Do you and your dog feel psychologically and physically comfortable when you are around a bunch of strange people and dogs?

Consider this simple formula:

 ß=ƒ(P,E):  Behavior is a function of personality and environment.  

Think about this for a second…training your dog or changing their behavior has been unnaturally hard because of the environment that you and your dog have been exposed to….not YOU.

Simon Sinek writes about this general concept in his book “Leaders Eat Last.” Using the example of a “snowmobile in the desert” – where people (and dogs) are snowmobiles – he writes that just like snowmobiles…(Video is 11:56 minutes)

 

“We were designed to operate in very specific conditions. Take that machine designed for one kind of condition – snow – and put it in another condition – the desert, for example – and it won’t operate as well. Sure, the snowmobile will go. It just won’t go as easily or as well as if it were in the right conditions.”

- Simon Sinek -

This is the “old school” way:

Come to a large room with several strangers and their dogs to learn new things.

Try to get your dog to pay attention to you with all the distractions.

You and your dog try to stay calm and focused with several dozen dogs trying to intimidate, determine status and hierarchy, manipulate and position to be on top?  (Sound familiar?)

Why would you put your dog through that if you don’t have to?

Juggling between a leash, the treats, the treat bag, a “clicker,” the dog next to you, the person next to you and paying attention to the instructor while trying to teach “sit” then “down” by bribing your dog with food....and mobile phones ringing and dinging etc. etc. etc.  

Doing all these things at the same time is destroying your dog’s ability to learn...and yours!! 

 This environment forces us, by bad design, to multi-task or context switch over and over again. Performance coach Todd Herman describes the cost of context switching. (9:30)

Is there a better way for our dogs to learn and make it easier on our your family…there is and I’ll tell you about it in just a second. 

It looks like this...

Dog Behavior and Training-Instructional Design (Part 3)

Let's be completely honest….

Most of us don’t want  to train our dogs.  

You have enough on your plate.  Check this out.

Sure, some people love the process…but mostly they just enjoy spending time with their pet.

What you really want is to transform your families life with your pet from chaos and frustration to control and calm cooperation.  That’s all. 

No games.  Not hours of pushing and pulling and treating and “whispering.”

The problem is there is too much information and not enough wisdom.  

Having a great dog, over a lifetime with your family, means you need to have a working knowledge to handle life when it happens.  

The skills to apply to a real life.

The challenge is you can't learn how to train a dog effectively.  You have to practice.

This may seem counter intuitive but "learning is actually a way to avoid taking action on the goals and interests that we say are important to us."  -James Clear.

You can watch a thousand YouTube videos and still not have a well behaved family dog...just gaining knowledge, but never improving your skills.

Many people get stuck or give up changing their dogs behavior or training because they don’t get results fast enough (or at all).  

It's usually because they aren't practicing the right things in the right order...the essential things.

They rely on knowledge not practice.  They have learned what to do not how to be, practice and apply it to developing a dog's life skill...

This video explains what I mean with a twist..practice is learning, but learning is not practice. (3:40)

 

The lessons I was given were all about fingerings and songs and techniques. They were about playing higher or lower or longer notes, or playing more complex rhythms.  At no point did someone sit me down and say, “wait, none of this matters if you can’t play a single note that actually sounds good.”

- Seth Godin-

The question dog people like us have to ask is: 

How can I BE  the leader my dog needs, to DO  the right things, and HAVE  a well behaved family dog!

The problem with old school obedience training is ineffective strategies...they have things out of order...Do this...to have that...to be a good dog.

They teach too many things without focusing on the essential skills...the essential practices-the Minimal Valuable Practices™ that you need to have a great family dog!

It's not about doing a bunch of games or tricks well.  It's about a few meaningful and life impacting practices.

This is the better way:

  • Practice MVP™ with life skills in an environment that facilitates learning.
  • Develop and stack The Perfect Minimal Valuable Practices™.
  • Switching to immersive learning through actual interaction with people and other animals after practicing to proficiency.
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