Dog Training Consistency
If you’re finding that I akin many of the attributes of dogs, to that of humans, there is a reason. In many respects they are alike. Both are stubborn, independent, resourceful, and intelligent (we hope). With intelligence come the need for change and variety in the diet of life. Coupled with the need to belong, most of us, and our dogs, need to feel that everything is going to fine from day to day, and be comfortable in our surroundings, and environment. This feeling of being comfortable is greatly dependent on a thing called consistency.
Without it, life tends to become a nebulous thing, in which unexpected intrusions are not easy to deal with. A certain amount of trepidation is injected into many things, which distracts, thus regulating the amount of information we can process,
and ultimately effecting the learning process. This learning affected learning process, for your dog, is the one you need to be functioning at near 100% when training. To help attain this, you must use consistency in your training mannerisms.
Each dog will need a little different approach to training, since each is an individual with different needs. Each dog should get that different approach to training, but each must have the consistency of that particular type of training maintained throughout the process. This is especially true when first starting to train. The following list is not meant to be all inclusive but will give you an idea as to the various aspects of training that should be done with consistency:
- Leash handling & positioning
- Speed change adjustments
- Mannerisms prior to starts, turns & stops
- Inflections & tones in voice commands
- Hand signal movements
- Standing for group exercises
- Speed of body movements
Every one of the above, is a potential threat to your dogs ability to learn, if not done in a regular consistent fashion. If we take one of these and expound, we can start to see the reasoning, and related it to the others. Let me take Inflections & tones in voice commands, and give a brief personal example of what I am ranting about here.
One fine day, I decided it was time to train one of my bitches. She was out of one of our breedings, and about 7 months old. She was not raised any differently than any other dog we had every had, and that number was many. She had always been a little more skittish with everyday commands, and tended on the side of reserved and shy.
The first day out was great, after I discovered that she responded best to a more gentle and softer voice. The second day out, was not great, however. I am sure I used the same intonation in my voice as the day before, but dogs have a much greater range of hearing than we, so it must have been different. She reacted like being hit with a sledge hammer. Frozen to the spot, she acted like if she moved, the world would stop, and stared right through me, as if she did not even know who I was. I’m sure for her, that may be exactly what she felt.
To make a long story, brief, like I said it was going to be, the answer was immediate. Hand signal training became the appropriate manner of instruction for her. She, (Dianom) was trained consistently with hand signals. Insignificant, slight variations on signals without warning were met with disdain, and a similar reaction as the voice commands received. Only with consistency, came reliable responses. The responses culminated in fantastic results with consistent scores.
Every dog has it’s own level of need for consistency. It must be there to some degree, for all. Maybe not as significantly as in the story above, but that was used as an example to get you on the right track. Constant attention to details involving your actions when training are of paramount importance in giving your dog a feeling of confidence. This consistency will pay off for both of you in the end.