The three most common complaints about puppy training? Is that it’s stressful, it’s exhausting and that it’s stopped working.
But it doesn’t have to be.
How do you deal with that? You’re looking at this little alien creature, wondering if you’re losing your mind. You know that this fluffball – adorable as he or she is – is causing you a lot of anxiety. That you’re knackered, and whatever you’re trying, it’s not working.
First, I want you to know that this is normal.
Normal is actually what we get a lot of the time with puppies, by definition.
We all get frustrated, because training takes time, consistency and patience, and sometimes it feels as though your training is plateauing and that progress has just stopped. I get that! I really do. We hit it in pretty much every dog’s training. So please don’t feel alone.
There’s a few things to consider on this, there’s the why, there’s the situation, there’s your puppy… but generally speaking? It’s something that can be dealt with, even if everything seems it stops working.
Let’s run some questions together and see how you can proceed, this is what I do when people are hitting a bit of a wall in training.
Are You Sure It’s Not The Puppy Blues?
This one is pretty important to differentiate for yourself. Is this just a regression, frustration, or is it something more? I’ve been there and it’s not a nice place.
So, go check out the piece on the puppy blues, and see if this is you.
1 – Change The Track
The whole time with your puppy becomes a festival celebrating negativity, Stop that! Don’t chew that! That’s not yours! and “No!”
This is really tough on you, because you’re building your frustration every time you say it. You’re putting yourself into a negative mindset, which is conditioning you to respond to your puppy badly (Remember training goes both ways!).
Change the track. Try saying “Yes” more often, and you may just see your stress levels go down, that training becomes less exhausting at that the stopping working? Starts working again.
2 – Take Time For You
Because puppy is incredibly needy at a young age, it can be very tough to stay afloat, and it’s definitely a time to remember self-care in this stressful time. Making sure you’re in good shape will keep your mood and your approach to training positive! And you need to step forwards on the best foot in order to get the best out of your puppy.
If that means you need to take a step back for an hour to approach it stress-free and on a better trajectory? Then so be it.
It doesn’t have to be much… but something that can help is if you…
3 – Lean On Your Support Network
The support network I’ve talked about on the Your Puppy Support Network – The 6 Critical People You Need is really useful to have, leaning on friends, family, a dog walker or a daycare facility will give you time to take a nap, or even just clean the house without a puppy trying to eat your broom, hoover, and mop, before they pee on the floor you just cleaned because you’re tired and losing your patience and you want to scream…
So, giving puppy to a responsible person for a little may just help you keep on the up and up!
4 – Take Your Training Down A Step.
Sometimes training takes a plateau because puppy is struggling to understand what you’re asking, or you’ve made it too difficult, too quickly. It could also be you changing something very minor because you’re further away, or similar. So, pare it back just a little, drop down one of the 3D’s of Dog Training, and start it again.
5 – Finish All Training On A Positive.
If training is getting frustrating, it can be good to just draw a line under it. But, for your sake, and for theirs always finish the session, and finish it on something they’re really good at. For example?
You aced that the week they came home, and you can give that cue and BAM! Butt on the floor. Perfect! Praise them, reward them and leave both of you on a positive paw. This way you are more likely to keep training, and they’ll be left with positive impressions too. Because you need to keep training. Don’t give up on it.
6 – Increase Your Treat Value
Sometimes preferences to treats change, other times you’re just not quite understanding your pup’s motivations. These things can be critical to the success of your training. So, if you’re finding training tough? Go have a read of the blog on High Value Treats and see if there’s anything there you can look into in order to make your training experience easier!
Remember – It Happens To All Of Us.
Why? Because you are human. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are. And alas! As much as I’d also like to think I’m perfect, I’m not. None of us are, okay? So don’t beat yourself up for that. Just recognise it, accept it, and try and progress nonetheless. Nothing good comes easily, okay? So remember that! And remember that you can do it, that they can do it.
Together you and your pup will get through it, and if you can’t figure your path forwards? That’s where someone like me comes in. And together? We problem solve.
How does that sound?
I’m just an email away, or if you just need a little guidance in training your pup, maybe you’d prefer something a little more DIY would be a better option for you?
Training Doesn’t Have To Be Stressful Or Exhausting
Take 5 minutes, just run something simple, run something fun, and enjoy a little training. Make it a game! Have some fun with it. Make training into bonding time, make it fun and appreciate that they may learn slower than others – but that’s ok too! Because you don’t need a perfect dog – perfect dogs are no fun. You need a fun dog! Nothing fun is perfect.
- High Value Treats
- Buckets of patience!
And if you’re truly struggling? Reach out.