Let’s start with the five W’s.
Who? The CPR’s of Dog Training was brainstormed by Deborah Vitale owner of Pawsitive Performance and Beaches Pet Resort & Training Facility in St. Clair Shores, MI. Please do not take this and relay or repost without giving her appropriate credit, please and thank you!
What? CPR stands for consistency, patience, and repetition.
When? Every time you work with your dog!
Why? The most important. Why is CPR so important? Because it will save your dog’s life. Does that sound dramatic? It really, truly shouldn’t. One of the most common reasons people re-home or surrender their pet is because of difficulties when it comes to their training. They’re “rude” and jump, steal food from children, wont potty train, counter surf, etc and the frustration eventually leads the owner to a crossroad: find a good trainer or get rid of the dog. Even if you never want to surrender or re-home, a dog that has not be properly trained can be a danger to himself by: escaping the yard, running into the street, not responding to “come”, etc. Remembering CPR will contribute to a respectful, positive relationship between you and your furry partner as well as ensure maximum potential for learning and growth.
Now, we will break down CPR!
Consistency: This is so incredibly important. First, let me address that for most people, they only want a pet. This means that training doesn’t go beyond basic obedience and they just want a well behaved animal in their home. So the “old school” idea that there should be one master and one person working with the dog is not applicable here. When you move on to advanced training where you are competition level, it’s possible that you may want a primary trainer, but for most people you want a dog who will listen and respond to not only everyone in the house, but other people who may need to interact with your dog. So consistency, everyone in the home and out of the home needs to be on board with your dog’s training. If cousin Sally is coming over and you have been working your butt off to break Max’s jumping habit, Sally needs to understand and respect the expectations you have set for your dog. “Oh I don’t mind he jumps on me!” Sure. But I DO MIND and your five year old nephew that you babysit on Thursdays DOES mind. Sally doesn’t live with the dog, you do. For every one person who allows your dog to jump on them rudely, your training to break this habit is taking five steps back. If you have a particularly persistent friend who just refuses to help you train your dog, don’t feel obligated to subject your dog to being set up for failure. Put your dog in his crate or away while this friend is over. Do NOT feel obligated to allow this person to interact with your dog unless you want them to! Dogs do not think in shades of gray, they are black and white. Consistency is key.
Patience: “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” ― A.A. Milne. The relationship between you and your dog is not a sprint, it is very much a marathon. Training doesn’t have an expiration date and old dogs can learn new tricks! You have a whole lifetime with your dog, use the time you have to the fullest. Just like humans, dogs learn at different paces. You need to remember that your dog does not speak the same language as humans. They do not know English. Not only do you need to teach the command, you need to teach your dog what the command means. So, you need to take your time! Allow your dog to make mistakes because, everyone makes mistakes. We don’t expect perfection from our children all the time, why would you expect it from an animal? If your patience is running thin one day, back track and go over a command he well knows, end on a good note and walk away. Be done. When you get frustrated, so does your dog and no one benefits from this.
Repetition: How does ANYONE learn anything? Repetition. We re-write our spelling words in elementary school five times each for memorization. We practice riding our horses daily for muscle memory. We can still sing every word to our favorite song from high school because we’ve listened to it seven thousand times on repeat.
Now go out and do some CPR!