Distractions- How to bring more ease into your life.
Have you experienced your dog ignoring you to be on his own schedule? Yes? I know, it’s frustrating and even embarrassing! Dogs do what is interesting and reinforcing to them. Let’s talk about how YOU can be respected and listened to by your dog, even in the face of distractions!
First off, practice your preferred skills often- like daily. Don’t make it a big hoopla- just use them in your daily routines. Ask for a Focus before they are released to go outside, a patient Sit prior to eating meals and mix your other desired skills into your routine, too. The more they practice, the better they’ll be- as long as the reinforcements are worth it to them!
Practicing in the neighborhood and at parks will give your dog a chance to generalize that Focus means Focus inside, outside and everywhere. Now, if they are having trouble then get into active training mode! 1) Repeat the cue WITH a hand signal. When dogs focus on something- sometimes they lose their other senses while they are hyper focused. Repeating your request with a hand signal uses the audio and visual senses- using two is better than one in the event of distractions! 2) Reward more frequently when they do get it right. Catch them getting it right more than correcting for getting it wrong. Hello Positive Reinforcement! 3) Use distance to your advantage. Move further away and get a successful cue- reward! Then gradually get closer and continue reinforcing good behavior. If they lose attention again then repeat these steps and work on it!
The more you’re able to practice successfully with distractions the better your dog’s behavior will be! More ease flows into your life when consistency is a big part of your training. You and your dog will be well on the way to a more peaceful existence, having more FUN and enjoying your lives together!