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Tuesday Training Byte: Regression in training

If your dog seemed to know certain commands or behaviors and now does not, this might be regression (going backwards). First rule out any medical issue or drastic living change. Dogs, similar to children, go through stages. As a pup may seem to catch on quickly, we may speed ahead teaching new things, then all of a sudden they have a problem. Usually there is a gap in the foundational skills. This can happen when we have out pup doing a sit-stay well, so next we take them outside off leash and they ignore us like they have no idea what those words mean. Go back to the basics, doing a sit-stay on leash in the house with you 3 feet away for 5 seconds, then return. How did your pup do? He should do fine when it is easy. Try again but walk to the end of the 6 foot leash, pause a few seconds before returning. I like to practice a skill in sets of three. So between sets, I will play a little tug or ask for a fun trick and give a belly rub and treat. Go back to the sit-stay keeping it relatively simple but add in walking in a semi-circle in front of your put before returning. By the end of the second set I have upped the anti on the expectation although it still is in the easy range. The reward is the play time for a few minutes of focus and a job well done. Now I finish off the session with a sit stay again on leash to ensure I can keep him in the correct position, then I walk in a complete circle around him. I go one direction, pause facing him, then reverse direction a full circle and stop in front. I release the dog with a "Yes!, Good Work!" and finish with some play time. The whole session is about 15 minutes total. I want to avoid drilling on a particular skill so as to lose my dog's attention. Switching up what I do at the sit-stay or what I have him sit on keeps my pup guessing. Next time I try the sit-stay outside, my dog should have a clear understanding of what is expected, and be able to generalize the sit-stay to the next environment. Here Cooper practiced a sit-stay on the pause table, then in the chair to mix things up a bit. Happy training!

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