You’ve seen the talking buttons, you’ve heard the hype, and you’re sold on them. The question now is, how do you prepare to start training your dog and what do you do once you have them? Knowing how to train your dog to use buttons will make the process much easier when your buttons actually arrive.
The goal of this article is to walk you through every step from A to Z so by the end, you know more than you can imagine about these talking buttons and how to make them work for you and your pup.
Here’s What You Need
First, let’s talk about some of the preparation you’ll want to do ahead of time. If you’re considering using them but haven’t started yet, here’s some of the gear you’ll want to purchase to get your home ready for talking buttons.
Obviously you need to purchase talking buttons and if you haven’t already, there are a few options out there. Now, Fluent Pet is the most well known option for pet talking buttons but there are also plenty of options on Amazon.
If you’re just dabbling, you can consider purchasing the cheaper option on Amazon and if you feel that it’s well received by your dog, you can upgrade to something better. Keep in mind though, this may set them back because it’s all about consistency so we recommend making the upfront purchase and not changing too much if you don’t have to.
If you choose to build your own talking button set, you’ll want some type of rubber or foam floor tile to help incorporate colors and changes into the buttons. Once you have multiple buttons, you’ll want to organize them into sections based on various categories.
The floor mats also ensure that everything stays in the same place and nothing is sliding around the house.
Velcro strips are important for securing the button to the mats. Make sure not to do anything too permanent in case you have to remove them to change the voice recording or potentially change a battery if it dies.
How to Train Your Dog to Use Buttons: 3 Steps
Knowing how to train your dog to use buttons is all about preparation ahead of time so here are some of the steps you’ll want to follow.
You likely know a lot about your dog and this can help you in planning. When do they like to go out, when do they eat, and what kind of unique quirks do they have? Knowing and factoring all these things in will help you.
One of the most important things to do in the beginning before you even get the buttons is to talk to your dog. Use the words you plan to put on the buttons consistently and associate action with it every time you do.
If you say “outside,” make sure you take them out. If you say “play,” make sure you play. Repeat these words over and over and engage with your dog as much as possible.
Plan Your Setup
Now is also a good time to start thinking about where you plan to put the buttons. It’s best for your dog to associate the button with an action so by putting the buttons near whatever it is they want, it will make it even easier for them.
2. Start Training
Once your buttons have arrived, it’s time to get down to business. Make sure everything is accessible for your dog and that they can reach all the buttons.
Also, make sure they can actually push the buttons on their own. Sometimes smaller dogs have a harder time pushing large buttons and bigger dogs can have a hard time if the buttons are too close together.
Set Up Buttons
Set up the buttons in a way that makes sense. Do not put them up against a wall because your dog won’t be able to see you when they push the button which will make it hard for them to read your reaction.
Also,make sure the buttons are put in a place where it won’t require much movement. Do not set it up in the middle of the room if you don’t plan to leave it there all the time.
Now you’ll want to choose the words. We’re sure you have certain words in mind but it’s best to choose words your dog is familiar with. Start off with one button and work up from there. Make sure the words you choose are very different from each other so they don’t get confused.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
Now it’s time to just let everything work. It will take a while for your dog to catch on but once they do, you’ll be amazed and so very proud of them.
Patience is the key. Make sure to offer plenty of positive reinforcement and never get upset if they don’t catch on right away. Even if it seems like they don’t want to push the buttons, continue to coerce them to push them and always give them what they want to reinforce the fact that pushing the button works.
One of the most important keys is consistency. When they push the button, you need to respond every time whether it’s by doing that action or telling them that they can’t have what they want right now. It needs to be the same every time.
Understanding how to train your dog to use buttons is fun and exciting. It’s a unique experience that will only bring you closer to your pup and help you connect better. Be patient, don’t expect anything to happen quickly, and understand that every dog learns at a different pace. Good luck!