The Benefits of Giving Your Dog Autonomy in TrainingOct 25, 2022
When it comes to training our dogs, we often think that the more control we have over them, the better. Giving our dogs autonomy during training leads to a stronger relationship and long-lasting results. There are ways to provide autonomy but still uphold important rules and boundaries for the safety of your dog and others. In this article, we are going to discuss what this looks like and why it's important.
Giving your dog autonomy during training means giving them choices. This could be letting them choose where and when they want to be petted, or which toy they want to play with. It might even mean letting them decide when they want to take a break. All of these choices help your dog feel in control, and as a result, your relationship grows stronger and your dog becomes a more engaged learner.
Autonomy also allows you to better assess your dog's understanding of new concepts. If you are teaching your dog to sit and they choose to lie down instead, it's an opportunity for you to see if they truly understand the concept of sitting or if they need more practice. This is where Canine Craze's learning layers come into play. If one component of a particular skill is lacking we isolate that step and put a training plan together to improve that part of the skill, before moving on to the next step and making the skill more difficult. You can't build a solid structure on a cracked or broken foundation.
Another way autonomy brings value into training sessions is by allowing our dogs to tell us how something makes them feel. Often when dogs "misbehave" or are "disobedient" it's not because they don't want to do it or they're being stubborn but instead because they feel scared or unsafe. Allowing autonomy brings insight into our dog's emotional state and whether their feelings are playing a critical role in their performance. If so then work with a professional to learn about behavior modification and the proper steps to take to improve your dog's conditioned emotional response.
If you're interested in learning more about how to incorporate autonomy into your dog's training, check out Canine Craze's Distraction Action! course (link below). This course is designed to give your dog choices and autonomy while continuing to learn new skills in a variety of environments. It's the perfect way to keep your dog engaged in their learning while also strengthening your relationship.