One of my first "dog" jobs was patrolling the streets of a very tough neighborhood with my dog Jocko.

Jocko was a long haired German Shepherd that was one of the best dogs that I ever worked with. Jocko literally loved working. Once you put his leash on and hit the streets his entire attitude changed.

He was upbeat and would completely focus on and do every command without hesitation. Jocko was extremely focused because every chance I got I would work on distraction training, or what dog trainers call proofing.

Distractions are one of the main reasons why dogs don’t listen to their owners. When practicing your obedience you need to start adding distractions. When you start training with distractions you need to make sure that your dog has a good understanding of the command and you need to start with small distractions.

If your dog goes bananas over tennis balls, don’t start training with them right away. Start off with a small distraction and work your way up to tennis balls.

When you are doing distraction training, you need to use all of your dogs senses. I use sight, sound, smell and touch distractions to get my dog to work through it.

So here is your homework for today. Before your get up from your computer, think about something that would work as a distraction on your dog. Nothing major, just a small distraction that your dog can work through.

When you do a training session today, put your dog into a stay command and introduce the distraction. If your dog breaks the stay because of the distraction, start over.

Be ready to give your dog a verbal correction if he breaks the command. Only reward your dog if he does the command successfully. Once he can easily work through the distraction, make it a little more difficult.

Try to spend more time rewarding than correcting. Try it out and please let me know how you do.

All the best,

Eric

P.S. If you’d like more instructions and video examples slide on over to The Dog Training Inner Circle.