Hello and welcome to another Biscuits & Bath Blog! In this post, we are going to cover the topic of training sessions vs real life application. We’ll go over how to take the things you learn in puppy class and apply them to everyday situations. Some of the questions we often answer in our training classes are “why does my dog have to sit all the time” or “why does my dog still pull on leash if he learned how to walk in class”. Not to worry as our training team is here to assist.
Let’s start with a training session; what does it entail, what is the goal and what does it accomplish. A training session is a time set aside to practice with your pup. During this time, we go to great lengths to control the environment and stimulation levels. We do this to encourage learning and to promote a more efficient success rate when working with your dog on desired behaviors. While working in a training session set up we give ourselves full control of when, where and how distractions and failure points are added to the training. This will ensure that we don’t lose your dog’s attention and can teach him/her without having outside stimulation detract from our work.
Next, we have real world situations, such as taking our dog for a walk outside or practicing our commands in a new place such as the park or even out on a calm street. The urban environment can not only be stressful and scary to a dog, but it can also be an overwhelming stimulus that can cause breakdowns in our training him/her. Situations like random skateboards, joggers, loud vehicles are all circumstances that can trigger reactions in your dog. Often times a dog has a hard time transitioning from a training session to just walking around the city. This can be caused by a few factors such as going directly from a distraction free environment to outside without first structuring the dog’s ability to work through distractions.
By now you are probably wondering what to do to climb this hill. The solution is simpler than you think. We’ll first start with our training sessions; this is one of our most important tools in helping your dog be able to function outside of the training area. We begin with no distractions and then build up by adding things a dog might see outside such as a bike or a skateboard (click here and check out Massimo’s first introduction to the skateboard). Playing city noises in the background can also help drastically as sounds in the city can be very intimidating to a young pup or an older dog that hasn’t been exposed to those sounds. Try to find new places to practice instead of trying to control all the factors around you. Take your pup somewhere new and start slowly. Keep sessions short and sweet to ensure success. Build on small successes with your dog as this is the most surefire way of building your pups confidence.
Remember, we’re here for you if you need us. Ask us if you’re not sure how to approach a situation.