Most people who come in for training comment “my dog is really good at home” or “my dog does this all the time at home”. They struggle a bit and are surprised that their dog is not doing quite as well in a different environment. And really, it’s no surprise!
When we start training our dogs they attach the behaviour to the place they were asked, whether it’s your dog training school, your kitchen or family room. So what can we do to ensure that your dog will respond to commands wherever you ask? It’s easy, but will take some time and effort and consistent training. We now need to generalize the behavior, and that means that after I’ve taught my dog to sit at school and at home I need to apply the behaviour in other places. Out in the driveway, the yard, on walks etc. so they learn that wherever they are the same rule applies.
Is there an easy way to achieve this?
I think so. I like to take my youngsters out to stores and different environments to practice. If you are not sure where you can take your dog in your community start at your vet office or pet food store. We are often there anyway with our dogs, but don’t even think to do a bit of work with them – ask for a sit or down, or perhaps do a bit of heeling in the waiting room or in the store aisles. Bit by bit, it will become second nature for your puppy to respond to your commands in any situation and you’ll be so proud when they do! An added benefit to this is your pup’s exposure to different environments and stimulation. They will learn to cope with different doors, footing, smells and so on, and before you know it, you’ll have a lovely stable companion who can deal with all kinds of situations!
“Your dog is so well behaved!”
Don’t you love hearing this from people! You and your dog have earned this praise! Ask them heel nicely by your side as walk in the store, to wait patiently while you look for your purchases and to sit and wait while you pay for your purchase at the check-out counter. We love bringing our dogs out with us and with some patience and practice everyone else will love them too!