Whether herding sheep, picking up or beating, recent studies have shown that the success of a working dog lies in a positive environment. Dogs provided with kinder training methods and good living conditions are showing the best results in the workplace and at home.
Below are some tips to really get the most out of your working dog.
- Positive reinforcement
Working with positive reinforcement to encourage working dogs to think for themselves is a great way to get the most out of your furry companion.
Every working dog is different and therefore knowing how to help shape their thinking should be considered throughout training, or daily working life. If you employ positive reinforcement to create a ‘thinking dog’ that learns the behaviours you’re looking for, the training becomes innate and the dogs enjoy working and receiving praise in the process.
- A deep bond
Whilst breed is an undoubtedly important factor for the success of a working dog, their performance can also be greatly impacted by the nature of the handler, and the relationship between them and their dog. Good canine training is underpinned by consistency and timing. Handlers who are consistent, give clear commands and are timely with their positive reinforcement, allow their dogs to make the strongest association between how they are behaving and the appearance of rewards.
A great tip would be to use games and grooming sessions to develop a bond of trust with your dogs, and then use a clear marker, such as clicker training, to encourage their learning. Try to encourage your dogs to think for themself during clicker training and they will soon learn that when they do something you approve of, they’ll receive a reward. Being patient with the dog during the learning process is critical because if your dog loses his confidence, the training and learned skills can dissipate rapidly.
- Home environments
A working dog’s housing or living environment is also likely to have a significant impact on its performance. Including the “pet dog” experience as part of an assistance dog’s training is an important part of understanding their temperament and suitability for their future role.
While an in-home environment may meet a dog’s need for comfort and human socialisation, there are trainers who feel that this living arrangement may present a training-related disadvantage. Out of work periods, when trained responses are not required, having important ‘down time’ away from the handler/owner can help to reduce generalisation, where the dog gives a trained response to unintentional cues that are similar to those used in training.
- Dogs have bad days too
Say you've been training your dog for a few weeks. He's performing well, and then one day he just refuses to work for you. He won't sit. He seems bored, antsy, tired, or just lazy.
Try not to get frustrated, and don't continue to correct the dog if it isn't working. Dogs have their bad days, too. Sometimes they just don't want to work. If you try to force it, you will become frustrated and angry, which never leads to good results.
- Feed them the best they can get!
Feeding a high-quality diet has been proven to increase endurance and decrease soft tissue injuries and stress fractures of bones.
We offer two complete and balanced recipes for adult working and active dogs. Cold pressed and nutritious - these recipes have been scientifically crafted with your dog in mind. You can order samples as well as 12.5kg bags here.