DISTANCE. DISTRACTION. DURATION.
When training for a strong foundation, these are the 3 pillars handlers should be thinking about.
You do not always have to work on all 3 elements simultaneously. For your sanity, when you first start training your dog, work on each element separately.
Whenever you’re getting consistency in the behavior, then work on adding on another element. Mix it up, be creative with how you want to layer the elements. With time, these elements would merge and you’d get more reliability with your dog.
Distance is when you want to work on giving your dog instructions or if your dog is able to impulse control when you are further away from it. The further you are away from your dog, the less your level of ‘influence’ would be to your dog when you first start out. Whenever you are working on distance, ensure that it’s done in a safe environment. Especially if there are higher triggers for your dogs or safety concerns like cars and bicycles. We never want to put others and our dogs in danger when training. Better safe than sorry.
Duration is the length of time that your dog would be able to consistently offer the requested behavior.
Think of duration like working on stamina whilst exercising. When training for a full marathon, it’s unlikely that you’re going to complete it the first time without any practice. You are going to need to train for it, daily and in incremental amounts. You’d start with just going a couple of kilometers and build up the stamina to be able to run to 10km comfortably. Over time, the confidence to be able to make it to 20-40km starts to kick in. Dog training is quite similar. Don’t try to go for long durations immediately, work that stamina with your dog.
Whenever we work on distractions, we like to explain it like a croissant. It’s layers and layers of buttery goodness.
*ahem* Now, back to dog training.
Distractions is something that you’d need to patiently layer on with your dog. Jumping into training in a busy place sounds fun and exciting.
HOWEVER, your dog is likely to be so overwhelmed that it’s going to look like it has selective hearing. Instead, start with quieter places and work on introducing your dog to different distractions bit by bit. This is how you get a buttery dog, I mean, a reliable dog who’s had the chance to build the consistency to listen to you in various scenarios.
So remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither do you get fitter just by exercising just for a day.
Dog training and the habits that you build with your dog – require consistency.
So good luck and HAVE FUN with your training.