He Heard You; Now Just Be Patient

 

Learning a new task is not the easiest thing in the world and sometimes the things in the environment can make it even more challenging. I moved to Dallas a little over a year ago. I am a country girl, plan and simple. I hate traffic and Dallas is filled with moving cars- all the time.

When I first moved here, there were times I would fight tears driving in the madness. One night I remember in particular. I programed my GPS as usual. As I was attempting to hear the directions my kids insisted on having the radio on, my phone was blowing up with texts and notifications from Facebook, and then the kids started fighting in the back. Because of the madness in my own car, the street I needed to turn on, well, I past it a little ways ago.

Learning new things is challenging and sometimes the environment can make it even more difficult.

When we teach our dog a new task sometimes, without realizing it, we make things even more difficult. Just like the environment made it difficult for me to concentrate on finding the right road to turn on, someone saying a cue over and over to the dog can do the same.

Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit = A chant NONE of us want to hear

Many times when learning a new cue, he needs a few seconds to process it before he complies.

In the early stages of teaching a new cue, cue the behavior and wait three seconds. If he doesn’t comply THEN reassess the training situation.

  • Have you trained in this location before?
  • Remember dogs don’t generalize easily; so have you trained standing, sitting, etc.?
  • Did he really hear you?
  • Is there a distraction that we haven’t worked up to yet? (like a rabbit)
  • Is my dog tired or stressed?
  • There is a possibility, as well, that he doesn’t know the cue yet and needs additional training.

However you answered the above questions, you will need to adjust the training regimen accordingly. In the beginning stages of training a new cue though, always give him a few seconds to process after you say it. After all, he is on the learning curve and good training is fair training.

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Blog written by Michelle Huntting
Building the bridge of communication between dog and pet guardian 

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