Distractions are every dog owner’s nemesis.
Distractions are what cause your dog to be “stubborn,” to “not listen,” and to be “hardheaded.”
Your dog isn’t any of those things. He’s just distracted. Really.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the video I posted yesterday — our outtake from the video you’ll be seeing today.
Levi understands the word “down.” However — and this is the really important part — he can’t concentrate on doing the actual behavior when other stuff is going on. That doesn’t mean he’s ignoring me, blowing me off, or stupid. He’s distracted!
You can’t punish a dog for being distracted. (Well, I guess technically you can, but man, what a jerkface you’d be for doing that.)
To avoid becoming a jerkface, try this instead:
Relax all your other criteria. You don’t care if it takes repeated cues. You don’t care how quickly your dog responds. You just care that your dog can do the behavior in the face of distractions.
Take your dog to a quiet location outdoors and ask for the behavior. In our case, we’re working to improve Levi’s down.
If your dog can’t do the behavior, either cue him again or move him further from the distraction.
When he does the behavior, click and treat with an extraordinarily delicious treat.
Things to Remember
- Use a really delicious treat. I’m talking steak, salmon, chicken, tripe, meatballs, etc.
- If your dog can’t do the behavior, move further away from the distraction.
- Your goal is that the dog is successful. This isn’t a test! You’re allowed to help your dog!
- Don’t worry if you have to give the cue twice.
- Don’t worry if the dog does the behavior quickly.