Exercise, Conditioning and Reinforcement Training 

This week we take a look at a few of the exercise, conditioning and reinforcement techniques I rely on when working with my own dogs, as well as those who come to me for training and boarding. 
  • Using Exercise to Calm your Dog
    First of all, let’s talk about the importance of exercise—especially with a high-energy dog! I am using a treadmill, but you can walk, run, bike, swim, or any number of things to exercise your pooch. Exercise is the best way to calm your dog and ensure that his/her energy is expended in a positive and healthy way, rather than a destructive one. I recommend exercising your dog before feeding him, allowing time for rest and hydration, followed by feeding. You and your dog will likely enjoy some quiet time following a good exercise session.
  • Conditioning Dogs to Return to Their Kennels
    I am a believer in operant conditioning to get dogs to do the things we want them to do. In other words, motivate them with rewards when they do what you ask! Because at any given time I may have quite a few dogs in my kennel, I need to make sure to maintain a sense of order. That means I train the dogs that are with me to return to their kennels when they come in. If you start this training from the beginning when you bring a dog into your home, it will make your life easier as well as help your dog to know what is expected.
  • Using Fetch and Tug as Forms of Reinforcement 
    Playing fetch and tug with your dog are not only for playtime! This type of play is a great time to continue to build on reinforcement training as well. You can use clicks and/or rewards when playing to practice sit, come, drop, or watch. You want your dog to give the toy up easily, so use reinforcement to encourage your dog to release or drop. As always, the more you practice, the better the results!

Check out the video for more tips and to see these techniques in action!

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