Dog Training Tips: Distractions and Your Dog
Dog Training Tips: Distractions and your Dog
Gab Jimenez, B.A.
We have all experienced it, some more than others. Everyone knows what it’s like to be
distracted; you can’t focus, your mind begins to wander, and sometimes you even go from task to task without completing anything. Our dogs encounter the same struggle with distractions as many a dog parent know. If your dog doesn’t lose all focus at the sight of a squirrel you’re either very lucky or you worked hard to achieve that goal.
Distractions are the reason so many people struggle to have success in dog training. The
important thing to remember is your dog is just being a dog by sniffing, chasing, and watching every little thing that moves. It won’t help to get upset when your dog loses focus; our human children often struggle to focus on tasks for long periods of time and we don’t blame them or call them stubborn. If your dog is struggling to do what you ask they are not being stubborn or dominate, but they may very well be bored and distracted.
Just like small children our dogs (young ones under 2 years especially) have not fully developed and they will have a hard time focusing for long periods of time. Punishing them for being distracted will only teach them to be afraid and set you even further back in training. Instead, we should promise to have patience with our dogs especially through the teenage years.
There is hope, your dog can learn to work through and ignore even their greatest distractions given enough time and patience. Taking a dog or puppy training course can be a good start to help your dog learn to focus in distractions; however, not all dogs can focus in a classroom environment.All of our group dog training classes have a low student-to-trainer ratio because we understand the importance of limiting distractions initially. We always start training new behaviors in a calm distraction-free environment so our dogs can be successful. Once your dog knows a behavior with about 95% accuracy then you can begin to add in distractions slowly. In dog training it is always important to work from least distracting to most distracting; if your dog begins to lose focus then you know you have pushed them too far and must return to an easier environment.
Remember when you train a dog you need to have a sense of humor and don’t let the
distractions keep you down!
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