We humans are all about instant gratification, and so are our dogs. Patience can be difficult to find sometimes, but waiting can really pay off.
When you’re teaching a new behavior, try just marking the dog’s correct choice with “yes” or a clicker and then give a food reward. After three or four of those right choices, your dog is ready for a word attached to the behavior. So point to the dog bed and mark and reward for four paws on the bed–three or four times. Then add the word “place” or “blanket.” Reward even just with kibble each of maybe four times. Now your dog’s brain is firing. Can you try not to repeat yourself–which isn’t easy–and say “place” and wait? Give your dog time to process the information, and his doggie computer should send him to the bed. Your human word has to percolate and connect to his brain and then his feet. If you’re learning a new language, repeating a word numerous times doesn’t necessarily add clarity, but having a moment to think and maybe get a cookie for the correct result should!
Your dog is grateful if you also wait for undesirable behaviors to change. Changing a barky dog or a reactive dog or a dog having accidents takes time. Having patience to work through problems pays off–in the same way that altering a human’s habit takes time. Some problems have been going on for a while and need to time to change. You might try to keep track of progress because good stuff is happening!
It can be so rewarding for the human to watch this clever, clever species put together the pieces and solve the training puzzles. Sometimes even despite us, they figure out exactly what we want!