Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Blogmas Day 13 - Dominic, More Distraction Training

Tonight I took both of the dogs out to a pet store to work on distraction training.  I view pet stores as the next level up of distraction from Home Depot.  There's food, there's toys, random people and random pets of all varieties.  This is getting closer to simulating the randomness of a dog show environment and some of the situations we're likely to come across.

Dominic did have a little harder time staying focused at the pet store, but I'm still really pleased with how he's coming along.  I did take a few video clips of us working in three different aisles.

The first aisle that we're in, I gave Dominic a few minutes and one loop through the aisle to check things out and get lightly acclimated to before seeing if he was ready to work.  This was after doing some general sniffing in the store for about 5-10 minutes in a different area.  You can't see it in the video, but around the corner to the right there was a couple with a young german shephard puppy, looking at toys.  I was rewarding Dominic pretty heavily for staying with me and for continuing to check in, even though he very much wanted to go say hi to the puppy.  I kept the leash nice and slack so that I wasn't influencing his decisions with collar or leash pressure.  I want him to choose to work with me and to learn to differentiate between when it's time to work and when I'm okay with him checking out from me and looking at the environment.  He is definitely getting there, but he's also still pretty easily distracted.  I am happy that he doesn't look like he's stressed by things in the environment, he's just very curious.  I did test him a little when the woman was at the end of the aisle and I maneuvered us so that our backs were to her.  He was a little concerned, but didn't fully check out from me and got comfortable once we got into doing something that he was confident doing.

The next aisle is a cold aisle.  I wanted to record him acclimating to an aisle that he hadn't been in yet and also capture when I start checking to see if he's ready to work.   You can see that he gets distracted by what's in the aisle as well as the couple who come out of one of the side aisles.  He has a harder time maintaining longer bouts of attention in this more open aisle.  I am really happy with how he maintained focus while other dogs were barking and while a training class was going on.

The final aisle that we worked in was in the dog food section of the store.  LOTS of very enticing smells.  We started off cold in this aisle as well and you can see me walking him around and letting him check everything out.  He starts checking in almost like he's ready to work, but then he checks out again and wants to do more sniffing.  Once he's giving me his attention and starts swinging into heel position, then I know he's definitely ready to work!  He does continue to lose focus in this area, but he has some nice moments of wanting to work and I'm really pleased with how he's doing.

Tomorrow I'll post Miley's session inside the store.  Happy December 13th!

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