My husband and I adopted a rambunctious husky named Balto in November 2020. When he arrived at our home he was scared of everything! He just husky swirled up on a chair we had in our kitchen and sat there. He was super quiet and scared of even the stairs. As time went on he started to shed his coat, today he is so goofy, talkative, playful and loving.
This summer I took a 6 week training class with him called ‘Mind Your Manners’. Here’s what we learned.
The fanny pack is back! I packed mine with a variety of treats, his favorite toy, and poop bags - one thing I learned was that after an hours worth of treats, that pup will need to go! In one end and out the other, am I right?
Don't forget their favorite blanket or towel - don't have one? Pick anything but be consistent! We went with a tie dye beach towel. This was for him to have a consistent safe space in the training class. He learned to sit or lay down on it when it was down time.
Invest in a versatile leash, we used the Awoo Infinity Leash which was great for all types of training.
Organizer Hack: Fill a tote with all these items and keep it at your door to take with you each week! Set an alarm 30 minutes before the class to get your thoughts together and collect any perishable treats you want to try that week.
Don't Underestimate the Value of a Reward
From low to high value be sure to have a treat for every kind of trick and mood your furry friend could be in. I tried something new each class - lox, fresh pet food, steak, chicken. In reality all Balto ever really wanted were Bacon Bits and Milkbones *sigh*.
Complete opposite of our food motivated Frenchie, something I also realized with Balto is that treats aren't always the gold prize. He was rewarded with butt scratches, playtime and outside time which he responded very well to. I tried rotating so he doesn't get too comfortable with one or the other.
Patience and Great Attitude
Training a dog isn’t easy, let alone an active & smart dog! It’s important to not compare yourself to others in the class and know that your dog and you are doing the best you can. The dog will only positively respond if you are positive! Have fun, fool around, and celebrate the small and big wins! Whether he waited a second to eat that Milkbone or sat and waited for my command we celebrated like it was the best thing he had ever done. Why? Because positive reinforcement it key and it will also make for a much more pleasant training experience.