Focused, Even Outdoors

michelleandboy3

Thank goodness we are finally getting a break from the Texas summer heat! At last we can take our dogs out for an evening stroll.  Maybe since you’ve been out more you’ve noticed that your dog is not as quite focused as you would like him to be. Here are a few tips for you:

Eye Contact, Eye Contact, Eye Contact
Eye contact is key to everything outdoors. Teaching your dog to check in with you will make all the difference in off leash and on leash training. Does he check in with you? If you would like to see that more often you must reinforce anytime he looks at you. This is indoors as well as outdoors.  I do want to note that I do not expect him to look you in your eyes, but just in your vicinity. 

Reinforcement outdoors can vary from praise, to a game of tug, to a VERY yummy piece of beef, to a game of tag, or being released to go sniff a blade of grass. They key is to recognize what your dog wants in that moment, get the behavior you want (which in this case is eye contact), and then give him what he wants.

Short sessions with high amounts of reinforcement is the name of the game. What does that mean? I mean go into a training session having counted out three sets of 5 treats. Your dog looks toward you (does not have to be a romantic gaze, just a quick glance) you say “good!” and deliver all five treats. Instead of just giving the entire handful all at once, deliver each treat one at a time. As soon as he swallows a treat, deliver the next and so forth. With each treat delivery you will praise him about something, “Oh you are so handsome!” “What a good dog” “Good job!”

Indoors make a production any time he looks at you. You get up from the couch and he turns and looks at you, “GOOD, BOY!” You can more than welcome to give random treats for this as well. Do this indoors for 1-2 weeks and I think that you will begin to see a difference in your training outdoors.

Let me know how it goes! What’s your dog’s favorite reinforcement outdoors?

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BLOG WRITTEN BY MICHELLE HUNTTING
BUILDING THE BRIDGE OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DOG AND PET GUARDIAN.
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