It looks like we are enjoying an early spring or at least a preview of what is to come.With springtime come distractions that were dormant durting our long sleepy winters. More poeople and dogs are out. Squirrels. More scents to explore.Many people find thir dogs coming to life this time of year and it is a great opportunity to work on your dog’s distraction training.Here are some ideas for you to help you improve your dog’s ability to focus under distraction:
Find a location that allows you to work with your dog at a distance from a distraction. It could be a dog park or an area where people walk their dogs - you know your dog best - whatever is a distracting environment for your dog will work for our purposes.Pick an excercise that your dog knows well - it could be as simple as a sit stay or heel - it doesnt even matter what the excercise is - but make sure t is simthing your dog is familiar with so that she is comfrtable in her work - becasue distractions add pressure to thew work.Ask your dog to perform and encourage with praise and treats or play. Release - and rewards your dog.Repeat the excercise.
If your dog is having a hard time - work further away from the distractions and gradually increase the proximity when your dog is performing with ease. Think of the proximity to distractions like a volume dial - the closer you get to them - they louder they are to your dog.One last tip - don’t rush this training. if I see one very common mistake - it is the lack of time taken to develop a skill before trying to rush the dog to perform at what the owner feels should be the dog’s level of difficulty. It is better to prgress slowly and inside the dog;s comfort zone - building skills and confidence as well as trust in the training and the handler. One hand washes the other with this aproach and it not only builds obedience but also helps build trust and confidnce.