Chickens, balls and wobbly tables; it’s called distraction training

By Laura Pakis, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Blogger

Distraction training is a major portion of what we do at Acme Canine.  By teaching a dog that they can do what they think they can’t accomplish in a caring and humanely manner improves the bond between human and dog in addition to increasing a dog’s reliability with commands that may end up saving his life.

A distraction can be anything in the environment that causes your dog not to focus on you.  It can be people, places, toys, food, odors, sounds—whatever your dog finds distracting.

When using distractions, we rate them on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most distracting to your dog.  Then we make a point of having the dog on lead when he is around any distractions that are “2” or greater.  This helps keep control over the situation.  We also avoid any “10” distractions when working on a new behavior or when polishing a behavior.

Later, instead of avoiding a situation, we work your dog through the situation.  This builds confidence in your dog and in turn your dog becomes more reliable with commands.  This helps “proof” your dog.  The proofing phase of learning teaches the dog that 100% reliability in every type of environment is absolutely imperative.  And when a dog learns this he is able to control his instincts and change behaviors.  Pretty neat, huh.

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