The Magic 3 Rule
You are a dog owner. You are actually a great dog owner as you meet all your dog's needs. You make sure your dog is not hungry and not thirsty, you take him/her to a vet when needed, you walk your dog, you play with your dog, you show your fur baby affection, you keep your dog safe, warm and clean, you do sports together, you go to training classes together.... right that training.... usually it is 1h session - your instructor has showed you techniques and mechanics of 10 different behaviour. At the end of the session your brain is exhausted, your dog is overwhelmed. Time for homework!
You know your dog loves learning new things. It makes you proud and happy when you teach your dog to do something - sit, spin, paw, heel walk, great recall. It's not only helping you in real life but builds a very strong bond between you and your dog. But you don't want to exhaust your dog! You don't have 1HR every day to train them!
3 Minute Training Sessions - everyone has 3 minutes for their dog right! Waiting for a kettle to boil? Calling insurance company and they put you on hold? Your favourite tv show starts in few minutes? Train your dog while you’re waiting. I say this over and over again to all my students - keep the sessions short and sweet. Science has proven short training sessions are much more effective.
3 Times Per Day - when you read the above about 3 minutes a day, I'm sure you have been thinking 'I have more than 3 min a day for my dog!' Of course you do, so train your dog 3 times a day for 3 minutes :-)
3 Different Behaviours - practice 3 different exercises during one session (for example 2 that your dog already knows like down and stay plus a new game like hand touch.
3 Repetitions - When training your dog, don't do too many repetitions of the same behaviour. If your dog has done it correctly 3 times - perfect, do something else , let them know they have succeed. If they are not sure what you’re asking them to do, don't try forever - both of you will only get frustrated, instead if you have 3 repetitions you are not happy about, do something your dog knows already and go back to the previous exercise later or even next day.
3 Types Of Food - your dog's daily portion of normal food (let's call it low value reward), high value reward (tasty treats) and chews. With combination of those 3 you will be your dogs best friend! Use the low value reward when practicing behaviours your dog knows and in a places he/her feels comfortable (home), high value reward when teaching a new trick or you need your dog's attention around distractions. And chews as a calming activity to reduce arousal after a training class, after an exciting or scary incident; when you want your dog to be occupied (example: when you have visitors or family dinner)
3 Training Rooms - if you want to achieve real life results, train your dog in different parts of your house (kitchen, corridor, bedroom, living room, patio, garden, driveway, garage...)
3 Different Environments - stimulate your dog's brain by taking them to 3 new places a week. A park, beach, forest, field, playground, pet shop, garden centre, dog friendly pub, car park, work, a friend's house.
3 Mistakes - no one is perfect, when training you may make mistakes, and our dogs do too. It’s ok to make 3 wrong attempts before making it right, just as long as you get there in the end.
Just like with food, you can have 3 types of toys:
the ones your dog always have access to.
the ones you only use for training
the ones you use instead of a bowl (treat dispensers, puzzles, kongs)
3 things to ditch the routine - Dogs learn our body language and movements very fast. They know when you grab their lead they will go for a walk, when you take your car key you go to work, you open the bottom left cupboard or a fridge they will get food. Ditch the routine, be unpredictable. Why? because when dogs predicts what happen next, they can easily get overexcited and will not respond the way we want. 3 times a day ditch the routine: grab your dog's collar and put it back. wear your coat and sit on the sofa. open the front door, say hello and close the door. put your dog in the car, then ask to jump out of the car and go for a walk.
3 dogs - if you let your dog say hello to every dog on a walk, you will never have loose lead walking and good recall. Your dog will expect and demand to play with every dog they see, Sometimes it could be inappropriate or dangerous (or you just don't like this neighbour and don't want to stop for a chat) Set up realistic rules, let your dog say hello to 3 dogs out of 10 during the walk.
3 words - I LOVE YOU say it you your dog every day!
The MAGIC 3 rule will help you achieve your training goals. Will make the training sessions fun not a must.