Join Date: Oct 2008
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanked 6,947 Times in 2,784 Posts
Don't try to outbid distractions with food. That's a common mistake when you use food as a reward. If a treat doesn't get his attention, the distraction is too high to make a good training moment out of it. And you want his attention to be on you, not the treat anyway.
Work in the 85% attention zone in order to build habits like looking you in the eye, sitting on command, and coming when called. Then, once he's solid in the 85% zone, you can start moving into higher and higher distraction levels. If the situation proves to be too distracting, move to an easier situation and continue practice. You need to pit habits against distractions, not treats.
With a few exceptions, treats should be shown and given after does something you want, not produced before as the motivator. You're not bribing your dog to obey you. That just teaches him to obey the treat. You're repeatedly rewarding the dog for obeying you and thus creating a deep-seated habit than can hold up against powerful distractions.
When you have to be in high distraction environments where you can't train successfully, prevent him from being self-rewarded for undesired behavior. For example, don't let him greet people if he tries to drag you to them. And don't waste commands on him in the high distraction environment if there's little chance he'll obey. That just weakens the command and undermines the work you've done in the low distraction environment.
Last edited by tippykayak; 01-01-2013 at 02:10 PM.