So you’ve been training your dog to obey some basic, everyday, obedience commands like sit, down, stay, come etc. You’ve probably started to notice that your dog seems able to perform his new found skills much more reliably at home than in places with more distractions, or you may be surprised to find that your normally well behaved dog makes you out to be a lair in public. Don’t fret, completely normal. Dogs have a problem generalizing a behavior from one environment to another. This is why, in order to get a more stable dog that behaves right every time it is important to practice in different places with different things going on to desensitize your dog to it’s surroundings.
Take it slow, make sure your dog is handling easy distractions before escalating the distractions or adding to them.
Great places to practice for different levels of distractions:
- Outside like backyard and driveway
- ball fields, tennis courts, parks
- Local pet friendly stores
- All over the house, from kitchen to bedroom and in between
You may find the change in area challenging to your dog, so take things slow and you may want to start easy with lower expectations and work back up to where he was when he was successful at home.
Remember: Every moment you spend with your dog, you’re training. Even when you’re not with your dog, they’re still learning!
Also remember to:
- Change your body position and postures in relationship to your dog’s position. Start trying to work around your dog; ie: ask your dog to sit from behind him.
- If using a clicker, begin each session with a clicker refresher with a few click-treats
- After your dog has picked up a new behavior, keep it as a quick response by practicing daily, maybe during a commercial break of your favorite TV show.
photo credit: easter 14 f via photopin (license) Day 24 - West Midlands Police puppy 'Scooby' visits Coventry via photopin (license)