You will need
Example: Rewarding away from another dog
Step 1: Start at a distance
It’s best to practise in an organised environment with a partner so they can handle the other dog. Start with easy distractions, have your dog on a leash and click for any interaction with you – that might be a look or just a head lift. Distance is your friend here, the further away you are from the distraction the easier it is for your dog.
If your dog pulls towards the other dog – don’t pull or call your dog back. Simply hold the leash still, and wait. With this exercise we really want your dog to think about what choices we like! If the leash loosens up you can try walking a few steps back to help your dog with more distance. Click and reward for turning in your direction!
That might mean a few meters away from the dog if your dog is not necessarily interested in other dogs, or 20 meters away if your dog loves other dogs wants to say hi all the time. The dog and the level of distraction will dictate the distance you need to have. Move away from the distraction if the dog isn’t successful at the distance you have until you get a good response (a look).
Step 2: Reward better choices!
When you have good responses you can move closer. You can switch between, from coming close to moving further away. Progress slowly.
Click for any attempt at looking away from the distraction, even if your dog is not directly looking up at you. Every decision where they are not focusing and staring at a distraction is a good decision and should be rewarded. If they manage to look up at you, have a celebration with more treats or a toy and dont forget to be excited about that amazing decision they made by themselves!
This will teach your dog that their decisions are rewarded. Furthermore, you can guide them towards making better choices in the future by rewarding the decisions you like.
So instead of you controlling every second of your dog’s life, you can trust them to be able to make better choices that you like!
If you don’t have a friend (and a dog) to practise this with, practise in an environment where dogs are mostly on a leash and try to start from a big distance!
Ideas for progression
● dog behind you
● dog in front of you
● dog on the side
● people in front of you
● people behind you
● people on the side
● random objects on the ground
● decrease distance with anything you do
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