There are so many distractions when going on a walk that it is no wonder some dogs pull on their lead or are uninterested in responding to their owner’s call.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way and through training your dog and learning relevant management strategies, you can maintain your dog’s attention so that he keeps his focus on you, stays close and returns to you when called. This all makes for a more enjoyable walk for you and your dog.
A dog trainer can help you teach your dog to walk nicely on a leash without pulling and to have a responsive recall so that he returns to you when called.
Methods include a combination of learning exercises for you and your dog, as well as strategy and management techniques you can employ to keep your dog focused on you, resisting impulses to explore the many distractions that are out and about.
This allows you to compete against the many distractions in the environment so your dog comes back to you when called.
Sean provides fully customisable training packages that can be focused on the teaching required so that you can train your dog to maintain focus on you when out and about, while teaching you techniques for better handling your dog in challenging scenarios.
Practice makes perfect
To reinforce your dog’s training so that they are obedient in all situations, you need to ‘proof’ learn.
As trainers, we talk about the three Ds involved with proof learning.
- Duration – adding a time element. E.g. a sit followed by a stay for a number of seconds.
- Distance – the dog responding to the cue when it is delivered from a distance, or you being able to move away with the dog maintaining a position.
- Distractions – the dog responding to the cue in different environments with gradually increasing the level of distraction, such as in the garden, a quiet park with people/other dogs in the distance, or a busy park with lots going on and nearby distractions.
Without proofing your dog’s new learning, you will find that they only respond in some limited scenarios and not when you need it most!
Choose your reinforcer!
The reinforcer (or reward) that you use to motivate your dog needs to be something that the dog is prepared to work for in that situation.
So a boring piece of kibble might work fine in a low distraction environment (indoors), but outside when you are competing against lots of distractions that your dog finds highly enticing, you may need to up your game and provide a better reinforcer.
This could be a higher value treat, or a game with your dog’s favourite tug toy, or throwing a ball – if your dog is motivated by games. Find the motivator that works best for your dog in the environments where they require more stringent management.