Do you know what is the most important skill in dog training?
This skill also applies to all learning situations. Including learning in humans. With this skill you can solve nearly all problems and issues. With this skill learning is accelerated and performance is increased.
This skill is so simple that it is often the last exercise that is worked on in most learning environments. It’s so easy we often do not even address it.
But without this skill all learning falls apart. Without this skill, you often wonder what went wrong and go around and around in frustration fighting all lessons.
This skill is the number one, most important skill needed to solve dog aggression between other dogs, animals and people.I have this skill.
If you have this skill, you will have the best behaved dog of all your friends. If you have this skill you will have the best recalls of all your friends. If you have this skill you can solve persistent barking. If you have this skill your dog will walk politely with you on or off the leash.
When I get called in to help people resolve dog aggression issues, this is the very first skill we work on. Often asked is how much time do I need to work on this skill. The answer is you never stop working on this skill. Even the best trained dogs who have this skill mastered work on this skill daily.
This skill has an endurance level, just like running a marathon. When you decide you are going to run a marathon, you don’t just go out and start running 26 miles on the first day of training. No, you start out with smaller distances and build up to the goal. Often the best practice includes going beyond the goal, so the needed distance is much easier than the practice training.
This is what is required for this skill. You must build up your dogs endurance daily. Each day increasing the amount of time maintaining this skill. And even going further than what is required in normal life situations.
Just like running, if you have practiced your training and increased you endurance and are able to maintain an extended running session and you quit training and take a vacation for a few months, your endurance will decrease as well. You will need to reestablish your training program to get back the endurance that was lost. This skill in dog training is exactly the same. If you stop practicing it, the skill loses it effectiveness.
This is the most common reason I am called in to help with problem dog. The dogs where fine and then they started getting into more and more trouble. Until the problem is drastic and outside help is needed to fix it. I come in and often hear, “Oh we did this when we where in puppy training, it’s easy my dog is good at that, except when we are at the park…” or you insert the place or situation.
This is the illusion of this skill, it’s so simple it seems to be not so important.
Can you guess what the skill is?
If you guessed attention, you are correct.
You can learn how to teach attention in an easy lesson, but keep up the work and increase your dogs endurance to maintain this skill.