This video showcases the importance of working your dog through everyday distractions.
Most dogs are, at least to some extent, reactive to the front door and to vacuums.
This was true for Hank too. He was quite reactive and needed a lot of practice with the front door. He also wanted to attack the vacuum.
We believe that to give dogs the best chance at enjoying life with you, you should help your dog cope with normal everyday stuff that happens.
There is no reason to have to put up with big reactions to routine situations.
Dogs are so much more capable than we give them credit for. We don’t have to leave them with the intense mixed emotions and lack of impulse control when it comes to simple stuff in life.
Most dog owners simply don’t know how to help them through it.
In the video, we are working on impulse control which basically means we are desensitizing Hank to the sights and sounds of the open front door, knocking, doorbell, and the vacuum.
In training, this isn’t something we do right off the bat. We don’t like to take a dogs bigger challenges and face them head on.
First we taught Hank to understand how we communicate through training. We taught him how to respond well, and what accountability is like when he doesn’t want to do what we ask.
This means that Hank not only understands what we are asking but how to do it and how to do it with the right pressure if not doing what we ask. We do all of this using a remote collar.
The more we have the dog listening to remote collar input, the better. There are times where you can see a little reaction to the remote collar pressure. This is because Hank really wants to go after the vacuum but the accountability (in the form of remote collar pressure) we are providing is telling him that the “down” command is not optional.
The more we practice this, the more Hank becomes desensitized to the vacuum, the more he just accepts it as something that happens, and then the more he learns there is no reason to react to it.
As we move Hank through this process, the less he wants to react, and therefore less pressure is needed to help him stay compliant.
If we create simple rules in our household and remain consistent with enforcing said rules, over time the dog’s natural accountability with following the rules of the house just becomes the norm.
It can easily become the new default understanding.
It becomes a given that when the front door opens the dog gives it space, or when we sit down at the dinner table the dog goes to their bed, or that when we are doing our daily chores, they remain relaxed.
Just like with human children, consistency and great communication are key. With the right elements in place, dogs are usually more capable than you think they are.