4 Quick Tips for Connection Outdoors
Check out Lido, the new pup of David, our School Director. At the age of 3 months, he is already doing great with looking at temptations (like this squirrel) and then looking back at his handler instead of losing focus or chasing.
Lido is off to a fabulous start with everything from coming when called to loose leash walking – yes, even in highly distracting environments like NYC’s Central Park (above). This is all taught with fun relationship-building and rewards. It’s always best to start with the “blank-slate” of a puppy’s brain, but here are some quick tips if you want to work on focus around distractions with a dog that is not used to doing it yet:
- Strengthen the Basics: Make sure you have the basics down indoors first. For example, attention. Super enthusiastic head turns from the dog in response to their name are a must. (Use a new nickname if you need a fresh word to rebuild value on a cue for this.)
- Practice Temptation Work: Start with basic Leave It exercises and gradually increase their difficulty, then generalize.
- Train and Use a Release: Work on duration Sits and/or Downs where you teach the dog a release cue to end that behavior, and once the dog “gets it”, start to use that release cue in lots of different situations as the reward. For example, release the dog to go outside, or to go sniff the bushes, or to go play with another dog, or to grab a toy you’re holding. This builds trust and turns the whole world into rewards you can use so that even the outdoors becomes a place worthy of paying attention.
- Use Treat Placement Wisely: Don’t always give the reward treat from your hand. Mix it up by sometimes placing a treat on the floor/ground and then walk away to a new area while the dog eats the reward you left behind. What is the dog likely to do as soon as she finishes eating the treat? Start looking for you and run over to your new location. When that happens, you can reward the dog again with a treat on the floor/ground. What an excellent habit to create in the dog! You’re building a pattern of seeking you out just after being engaged in something else (a distraction).
If you are fascinated by training, behavior and canine communication – you’ve come to the right place. Our community is “geeking out” on dogs in the best possible way: reward-based training and relationship-building across species.
CATCH courses and workshops go beyond basic obedience to help students work on advanced training concepts and help dogs that have behavioral issues. Many of our students turn their passion for dogs into newfound skills and use them to launch dream careers or fulfill a deep desire for a meaningful way to spend their free time. Get in touch with us to learn more about the ideal studies for you!