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How to Train a Dog Faster: 5 Daily Hacks for Quicker Learning | Pupford

July 26th, 2023

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Learning ways to train a dog faster is advantageous for you AND your pup!

As you improve your skills as the teacher, it will in turn improve your dog’s ability to more quickly understand and generalize new behaviors.

In this article, I’m going to break down 5 daily hacks to speed up your dog’s learning process and ultimately help you raise a well-mannered pup. Because who doesn’t want that?!

Here’s a quick overview of the 5 daily hacks for training a dog faster:

  1. Use mealtime for training
  2. Try mini-training sessions, every day
  3. Routine-based training behaviors
  4. Incorporate training into playtime
  5. Use strong reinforcers & avoid mixed signals

Alright, let’s check out each tip below! 👇


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using mealtime for training can help a dog learn faster

When training a puppy (or older dog), attention and focus are at a premium.

One of the most challenging aspects of training is to get your dog’s attention. Without attention, little to no learning will occur.

Therefore, on a daily basis, we should be looking for opportunities to train our dogs when we know we will have our dog’s full and undivided attention! And you may have guessed when that is…


Maximizing your dog’s mealtime for learning, connection, and communication improvement can help you train a puppy much faster! While this doesn’t mean your dog has to “work” for every piece of kibble or food, you should look for ways to incorporate learning into each of your dog’s meals.

Additional Reading: Learning more about contrafreeloading & dogs here.

Here are some examples of how to use your dog’s mealtime to speed up their training and learning:

  • Practice teaching the place behavior while you prepare your dog ’s meals
  • Provide a meal in a puzzle feeder or snuffle mat to work your dog’s brain and potentially improve focus for dedicated training sessions
  • Take a handful of their meal and use it to work on recall training inside your home
  • Take 2-3 minutes and use some of your dog’s meal to work on desensitizing them to scary sounds or objects (like a vacuum)
  • Feed a small portion of your dog’s meal by hand to improve your connection and bond
  • Set aside a handful of your dog’s food to use for reinforcement during your morning walk, instead of treats
  • Only set your dog’s bowl down until after they’ve looked you in the eyes or done a ‘look at me’ (some people use ‘watch’ or ‘focus’ as the cue word)

Those are just SOME examples of how to use your pup’s mealtime for training and learning!

Get creative and find some of your own ways in your own home and schedule to incorporate training during your dog’s meals.

Which leads perfectly to hack #2. ⬇️

🐶 Don’t miss out! Sign up for the 100% free online video course, 30 Day Perfect Pup. Sign up here! 🐶 


Many new pup parents wonder how long their training sessions should be, and the short answer is… well, short! Even just 3-5 minutes of training can be very effective!

Puppies have extremely short attention spans, and trying to train for too long can be a huge mistake.

if you want to train a dog faster you can try short training sessions to keep your dogs attention

As already mentioned, if you don’t have your dog’s attention there won’t be any learning. Doing shrt “mini training sessions” multiple times a day increases the likelihood of keeping your dog’s attention.

And to be completely realistic, it is very difficult to carve out time in our busy schedules for a long training session!

By opting for shorter training sessions every single day compared to 1-2 long sessions on the weekends, you give your dog more opportunities to practice and be rewarded for correct behaviors on a more frequent basis.


If finding time each day for dedicated training sessions (even short ones) seems difficult, you can still find time to train by incorporating it into your daily routine. Here’s what I mean. 👇

a person incorporating dog training into their daily routine by having their dog sit before going out the door

As mentioned above, you can do some quick training while feeding your dog, even if it’s just practicing 1-2 recalls before setting the bowl down.


Every time you are about to go out the door for a walk with your dog, have them do a sit-stay by the door.


Before you unclip your dog at the park, have them do a ‘look at me’ before being allowed to run to play.


If you work from home, you can practice 1-2 tricks with your pup while you brew your morning coffee.


Every time you let your dog out of the crate, you can wait to do so until your dog is sitting and calm.


Instead of watching another Burger King commercial for the 739th time, you could use commercial breaks to work on focus behaviors and even some fun trick training!


You get the point! 😀

There are moments every single day to teach your pup proper behavior and manners, no matter how busy you are!

🐶 Don’t miss out! Sign up for the 100% free online video course, 30 Day Perfect Pup. Sign up here! 🐶


to train a dog faster you can teach them behaviors during playtime

You may be seeing a theme here… Helping train a dog faster comes down to finding additional opportunities to practice!

And as we’ve said for about the 7th time, training when you have your dog’s focused attention is vital. So, think about playtime!

When we’re playing with our dogs, we have extra focus and interest from them. They’re engaged with us physically, and they’re doing something enjoyable. It’s the perfect recipe for mixing in some training!

Here are some ways to train your dog while playing with them:

  • Use fetch to teach recall by only throwing the ball when your dog comes back to you
  • Play with a flirt pole and work on impulse control by asking your dog to wait to be released to chase after the toy
  • “Trick” your dog into practicing recall by playing a fun game like Hide & Seek
  • Play tug of war with your dog and practice behaviors like drop it & wait

Those are just a few fun examples, I’m sure you can think of some more ideas based on your dog’s favorite games and playtime activities.

The key to training during playtime is to not let it become the main focus of the playtime. Our dogs need time to just be dogs!

So be sure not to get frustrated or overwhelmed if certain behaviors aren’t happening or “working” during playtime, just play!


strong reinforcers like treats can help you train a dog faster

If there is one single tip to train a dog faster, this is it! You must give your dog strong reinforcement for correct/desired behaviors.

And additionally, you have to be consistent with your dog and avoid mixed signals!

Let’s look at each point below. 👇

🐶 Don’t miss out! Sign up for the 100% free online video course, 30 Day Perfect Pup. Sign up here! 🐶 


When we reinforce specific actions, those actions are more likely to be repeated in the future.

That is one of the most fundamental parts of learning theory and dog training as a whole.

When we want our dogs to learn faster we need to make sure we’re giving them reinforcement that is highly valuable and desirable to them. So it begs the question, what is a strong reinforcer for dogs?

While we have an article with a full list of reinforcers for dogs, here are some basic ideas to get your brain thinking.

  • Treats and food
  • Play, like fetch, tug, or chewing on a toy
  • Praise
  • Physical touch and petting
  • Verbal praise

The key is to find out what your dog cares about the most!

And let’s be clear on this point, it does not matter what you think should be rewarding for your dog. Your dog decides what is the most reinforcing.

For example, I have two sister Labrador Retrievers. They are alike in a variety of ways, but their strongest reinforcers are quite different.

Sunny absolutely LOVES verbal and physical praise and treats. She is very food driven and will respond to high-value training treats in almost any scenario!

On the other hand, Scout could not care less about treats when we’re outside. If you want Scout’s attention you pull out her favorite squeaky ball. You will get her full and undivided attention… she LOVES to fetch!

using different reinforcement can help your dog learn new behaviors quickly

Once you find your dog’s true “currency”, you can dramatically speed up the learning process.

Every time you see a good behavior, reward it with a strong reinforcer.

Every time your pup does the challenging behavior you’re asking for, reward it with a strong reinforcer.

Every time your dog resists the temptation to bark at the mailman, reward that behavior with a strong reinforcer.

While it will take some time and patience, try a wide variety of treats and reinforcers to find out what your dog truly cares about. Then use that religiously during training sessions!


While I feel like this section deserves a metaphor about my high school dating life, let’s just say that giving your dog mixed signals should be avoided!

When I say mixed signals I mean sometimes being okay with certain behaviors, and other times not being okay with the same behavior. You have to be consistent.

The simplest example is with your dog jumping up on guests.

If you want this behavior to stop you have to completely resist the temptation to let your dog jump up on you sometimes. Dogs aren’t the best at deciphering if a specific behavior is okay at one time and not at another time.

So, be consistent (as best you can be)!

As you avoid mixed signals and clearly communicate to your dog what behaviors are (or aren’t) okay, you can help them learn much more quickly!


a person working on new behaviors to help train their dog faster

Training a dog takes time, patience, and consistency. And while your dog’s training progress might feel slow, it’s probably going better than you think!

Here’s a recap of how to train a dog faster:

  1. Use mealtime for training
  2. Try mini-training sessions, every day
  3. Routine-based training behaviors
  4. Incorporate training into playtime
  5. Use strong reinforcers & avoid mixed signals

And while we didn’t dive deep into specific techniques in this article, I’d recommend signing up for 30 Day Perfect Pup if you’re needing specific training techniques and advice.

This free course has guided videos (and an eBook) covering behaviors like leash walking, biting, potty training, and even recall! Sign up for 30 Day Perfect Pup here!

How have you helped your dog learn faster? Tell me in the comments below.

🐶 Don’t miss out! Sign up for the 100% free online video course, 30 Day Perfect Pup. Sign up here! 🐶 


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