Having a system of reinforcement is one important piece to the puzzle. The other is proofing. Proofing means that we have tested our dog and made sure that he could remain under control as we changed different aspects of the picture. This can be working around loud noises like trucks, concerts, or thunder. The more different types of stimulation you teach your dog on, the more clear his job becomes. In fact we encourage all of our clients to try to find the most difficult distractions and have their dog “sit” in that environment. Practice working your dog in as many different environments as possible, different angles and as your dog progresses then add in distance. It’s really nice to ask your dog a command one time and have your dog listen despite the circumstances. Your dogs commands will become more reliable by training in as many different scenarios as possible and through repetition.
We teach our dogs that all our commands are a stay command and we don’t use the words “no” or “stay” because they are vague commands. “No” what? No out, no off, no stop barking, no don’t chase the squirrel, etc? Also, if a dog breaks a sit before we give them the “Break” release command then we simply ask the dog to sit again and we reinforce the sit. If you were proofing your sit command then example scenarios would be to sit your dog indoors, sit them through the distraction of the doorway opening and closing, sit them through the doorbell ringing, sit them outside in the street, sit them on the grass with a lot of scent, sit them through dropping food next to them, sit them at a distance and keep them in a sit through animals, kids or you running by, sit them in crowded public places and sit them in water. Expect them to hold that sit until they get a release command. If the dog gets up then put them back in the sit and always ask your dog to sit facing you and never away from you.
Attention Dog Training is super effective because we teach our dogs to pay attention to the handler the entire time they are working until released. Paying attention to the handler means looking at them. You will notice from Darrel’s videos that the dogs eyes almost never stop looking at him when performing commands. Practicing all of these senarios will give you a whole new meaning of what the command “sit” actually is and you will have a very solid, reliable command. Your next step would be to practice proofing your “Down” command and so on. We are here to help every step of the way and will be happy to show you different ways to proof all of your dogs commands. After all, who doesn’t like a well trained dog that they can take anywhere?!