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Tuesday Training Byte: Prevent the train wreck

Most dogs I have trained and owned over the many years are smart. In fact, this evening I took a young female out for 10 minutes to teach the "stand" and free stack. I have worked her minimally like under 5 hours total in basic heeling, sit, down, and come. But that includes an automatic sit when I stop. She literally figured out the new command and hand signal on the third time. I try my best to foresee what could go wrong and not put my dog in the situation where they will not be successful. I want the right response to be the easy one. Due to the heat, I was considering working her in the house. but then I would need to remove any bones, toys, and other dogs that could interfere with learning. Once my dog knows the command well, then I can slowly add distractions- but not at the very beginning of a new command. Otherwise it would be similar to having a child with ADHD sitting at a circus and being made to do their math homework! I try to not give a command if there is a chance my dog will be too distracted to obey it. If that happens, they learn in a minute that when you are giving a command, that they can ignore it. For example, tell my young dog to stay, I drop the leash and walk away 10 feet. Then a kid goes running by waving their arms and yelling. That train wreck is preventable. The dog has just learned it can break the stay because you are several feet away and have no control of the dog. Fixing it after the wreck takes so much more work and causes frustration for both you and the dog. Like calling the dog to come to you when he bolts out of the open door and down the driveway at warp speed. If the dog has not been trained to wait back from an open door, then put the dog in a crate, or hold it's collar preventing the "train wreck". The reward to the dog of running free can be hard to un-train. Set them up for success by removing those obstacle. Happy training.

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