Let’s Say You Have a Persistent Behavior Issue With Your Dog:
I hear these complaints worded in such a way a lot…
Fill in the blank: “When I want them to ____” “when we say____”, “when they see____”, “when they hear____” “When they are _______they do not _____”
“What should I do?” The frustrated dog guardian asks.
“What have you been doing about it?” I ask in return.
They reply: “Well… I try to ____, but they don’t hear me – they’re too excited.”
In a way, you have already said why you are not getting any satisfying results.
Your dog is too excited and distracted!
It is well worth realizing that whatever you were trying to do up until now is not going to work. Rather than getting frustrated with your lack of results, change your plan! Even though it might feel like you are going backward, it is, in fact, the opposite.
A good example would be how to teach your dog to walk without pulling on the leash.
It is a common error to assume that you can teach this in the environment ( out on the sidewalk) where the dog naturally is already pulling or lagging and there are too many distractions for the dog to think and focus.
Consider the following:
Teaching something when the learner is not able to focus is inefficient, to say the least.
What specifically would you like to teach? Think of the physical movement or the spacial relationship between you and the dog that you want your dog to learn. Rather than change their mind about the distractions that are causing your dog to pull or lag, teach them the actual skill first.. Practice and reinforce that particular movement, or combination of movements, in a non-distracting environment. In other words: Make it fun and easy!
Once they are fluent and know what the “rules” of that particular game are, you can add other distractions and environments. The less goal-oriented you are in the beginning, the more fun you can both have during the process and the more successful you will be.