In a previous post Teach Your Dog to Sit, I emphasized rewarding your dog at the exact moment they complete a trick, stressing this is crucial to help your dog learn both the easy and more advanced commands quickly and without frustration.
However, it is important to note that frustration is a two-way street. You may be thinking you are training the dog correctly but, by rewarding in the wrong moment, you may receive an undesired result. Therefore, it is important to understand how your dog responds to you during the training process to limit frustration.
In my experience, the leading cause of frustration in dog training is miscommunication. Obviously, dogs don’t use words and we don’t speak “bark” so we need to find common ground to understand them at their level. That common ground in trick training is body language. Dogs first and foremost respond to your body language. Watch their eyes as you shift your weight from one foot to another. They are constantly assessing your body and facial expressions to gain information. “Which way is he going? Do I need to run? Does he want me to come to him?” Dogs get the answers by watching you! And so, the same way a dog looks at your body language, you, as a trainer, need to be diligently watching theirs to communicate your desired trick correctly.
The last thing we at Tricks to teach dogs want is both you and your dog becoming frustrated over body language! So here’s a cute infographic, created by Lili Chin at doggiedrawings.net, explaining the different types of signals dogs use to communicate. Enjoy!