One of the many reasons I teach classes outside is for the exact reason listed in this title. Clients tell me all the time their dog only listens to them at home or only at obedience class that is held indoors. As soon as they hit the outdoors or somewhere else in the community, their dog does not listen. I wrote this blog to help you with this as you progress through your training.
Think about your favorite local restaurant chain. You love how the restaurant is designed, the food is great and always comes out fresh. The staff are always happy and you always have a great experience at your local restaurant. You go across town to the same restaurant chain and you find the layout to be different, the menu different, and the whole entire experience…different. Not what you expected right?
Apply this same concept to your dog when you are training!
The first thing you need to know:
Dogs are situational which means what you teach them in one environment is not directly translated to the next environment. Every new command or exercise you teach a puppy or dog has to be trained in different environments for them to learn…sometimes going back to the basics even though you may think they know the command.
Helpful Tip #1: Train your dog in a low distracted environment so he has the opportunity to learn what you are asking him. When you have practiced at home and then go to a class and your dog does not listen it is not always because they are choosing not too. Sometimes they simply do not know what you are asking. The 7 other dogs in the class are a distraction and that distraction is real. It’s also way more fun than being at home where it’s just you and your dog training.
This video is Pac as a puppy in a relatively low distracting environment. Well, except for the birds! He loved watching the birds!
Helpful Tip #2: Move at a pace that is comfortable for you and your dog. Once your dog learns it in your house and 10 out of 10 times he does correctly…it’s time to bring it out into your backyard (or another new environment).
- This is where you can help your dog be successful. Bring in those higher value treats. Check out my blog regarding higher value treats. Don’t start with major distractions and always jackpot for when the dog has done something correctly in a new environment.
- Make sure your dog understands what you are asking. If you have not done an off-leash recall at home don’t expect them to do that in your new environment. Remember all exercises you are working on in the new environment should be ones that he already knows and you can now take baby steps to work them in the new environment.
Helpful Hint #3: You have to have patience. Learning all of these exercises in different environments is hard. Only ask your dog what you know is achievable.
How do BLOF’s classes work?
Training through the BLOF program is designed for just that. Both puppy socialization and basic obedience are held in the same location each class session. I choose a park location that has very little distractions as these are puppies/dogs who are new to training. It’s not fair to expect them to be successful if we don’t set them up for success.
After your puppy or dog has graduated basic obedience you would then move up to our advanced class (if I think you are ready). This class is designed for dogs who are working on furthering their foundation. Exercises are conducted in a variety of areas to work on proofing and distractions. Each class session is located at a different park to work on such distractions.
This is Orion working on his recall on a long line in my You’re a GOOD Dog! Advanced Class!
Training your dog should be fun in every environment! It’s your job to ensure that you are doing just that! Make it fun and set them up for success!
As I say “Don’t blame the dog! Train the dog!”
Until next time,