So, you feel like your dog isn’t progressing fast enough. Maybe he still has occasional accidents or he hasn’t quite mastered “sit.” Maybe he’s hyper, has too much energy, plays with his mouth a lot. Whatever the reason may be, you find yourself frustrated that your dog isn’t learning a quickly as you’d hoped, and you feel like this new relationship isn’t working out.
Don’t worry, it gets better!
Regardless of age, all dogs learn at different speeds. Some dogs may pick up tricks within a few tries, while others will take months. General manners and house training can be a struggle for some dogs, especially ones who are growing accustomed to the idea of a forever home.
If you’ve adopted a dog, and he isn’t making progress “fast enough,” take a minute to step back and think.
Do you remember what it was like to learn how to ride a bike, or how long it took you to master a skill? Chances are, you didn’t pick it up as quickly as you had hoped. You were probably frustrated or embarrassed, upset that you were struggling with this task. That is how your dog feels right now.
Despite your feelings of disappointment with your dog’s lack of skill or training, he’s frustrated too. Every time you get upset at him for not “knowing better”, or being a “bad dog,” your pup feels embarrassed, and wishes he could make up for what he’s done.
If you feel like your dog isn’t making progress enough, remind yourself that he is trying. His lack of understanding might have more to do with your training technique than his intelligence or attitude. If the method you are using isn’t showing improvement, change your practise. Working with a trainer to assess your dog’s needs and learning capabilities is important. You must first understand how he learns before you can teach him.
Reward based training is important for rescue dogs, as you may not understand their past. They may have suffered abuse, neglect, or circumstances you will never know about. By training them with love, care, and patience, you will promote healthy growth and understanding.
Be patient with him. All he wants to be is a good dog.