White terrier mix dog standing in a green field with a red collar on

Distraction Overview

We have discussed the 3 D’s of dog training: duration, distraction and distance. This week we are going to be looking at the distraction element of training. We are going to begin teaching your dog to “hold” a stand, sit and down even when distractions occur in their environment. To do this, we will start off with a controlled food distraction that is equal value to the reinforcement we are providing. This exercise is establishing a predictable pattern that will help your dog learn to work through more challenging situations down the road. Ultimately we will input real world distractions into this same training pattern. Predictable patterns can be extremely helpful in working through emotionally charged situations, we’ll talk about this in depth in weeks 4 and 5 of training. The other element that we will be looking at in more detail this week is the position of our hands and body. I want you to be able to recognize the impact that our movement and positioning can have over your dog’s behavior in training. To generate more consistent, predictable responses and to ensure that erratic movements of our hands don’t become an unwanted distraction – we will be creating a “home base” position. Meaning, after each reinforcer we provide we will be drawing our hands back to our stomach, before issuing the next marker and reinforcing.

You can either watch all the videos back to back or attempt to train after each “set” – it’s up to you. You will replicate the exercises demonstrated in these four videos. A single training session will consist of four “sets,” and will be approximately 7-9 minutes in length. And should be practiced at least once a day for a period of one week.

  • Set 1: Stand (or Sit)
  • Set 2: Down
  • Set 3: Sit
  • Set 4Down

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