Teaching your dog to do nothing

Teaching your dog to do nothing

If you're a dog owner, chances are you're familiar with the phrase "a tired dog is a happy dog." It makes sense, right? Dogs have a lot of energy, and if they don't get the chance to burn it off, they can become restless, destructive, and downright annoying. But there's another side to dog behaviour that's just as important, and that's teaching your dog to do nothing. Yes, you read that right. Doing nothing can actually be the key to helping your high drive & high energy dog to learn to be calm, patient, and steady. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of teaching your dog to do nothing and how it can benefit you both.

 When we talk about gundogs, we're referring to a category of dogs that are often bred for their high energy and drive. They're used for hunting and retrieving, and as such, need to be able to focus and remain calm in the presence of game. While their natural instincts are certainly an advantage in this regard, it takes training to refine those instincts and turn them into the behaviour’s that make them successful in the field. One of the most important of these behaviour’s is steadiness, which refers to a dog's ability to remain calm and still when they're looking at game or waiting for a command to retrieve. It's a critical skill for any gundog or pet dog, and one that can be enhanced by teaching your dog to do nothing.

 When we say "teaching your dog to do nothing," we don't mean ignoring them completely. Rather, we're referring to creating situations where your dog learns to be calm and patient without constantly being engaged in activity. This can include things like using a "place" command where your dog lies down and stays in one spot for an extended period of time, or practicing "duration work" where you ask your dog to hold a sit or a down for longer and longer periods of time. By doing so, you're teaching your dog that it's okay to be still and quiet, and that they don't always need to be on the move.

 Another benefit of teaching your dog to do nothing is that it helps build their patience and impulse control. High drive dogs can be prone to getting overexcited or distracted in the field, and this can lead to poor decision making or even dangerous situations. By teaching your dog to practice self-control in low-stress situations, you're helping them build the skills they need to make good choices when they're in high-stress situations like hunting. Over time, your dog will learn that being calm and patient is actually more rewarding than being restless and reactive.

 It's worth noting that teaching your dog to do nothing requires patience and consistency on your part. You're not going to see results overnight, and it's important to remember that every dog is different. Some dogs may take longer to learn the value of being still and quiet, while others may pick it up more quickly. The key is to remain consistent in your training and to provide plenty of reinforcement for good behaviour. This can include praise, treats, or even just a good scratch behind the ears.

In the end, teaching your dog to do nothing may seem counterintuitive, but it's actually an important component of building a well-rounded dog. By helping your dog learn to be calm and patient, you're preparing them for success in the field or at home and enhancing your relationship with them overall. So the next time you're tempted to schedule another round of fetch or head out for a long hike, consider taking a break and trying some duration work or practicing the "place" command. You just might be surprised at how quickly your dog learns to appreciate the value of doing nothing.

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