Thursday, April 28, 2011
Make it as easy as possible for your dog to be successful. Don't be afraid to use a food lure to get the behavior at first - a little help is perfectly okay. Reinforce easier steps such as looking at you or taking a step toward you. Make sure the distractions aren't too big and/or too numerous at first. For example, practice in your front yard before trying it in the park.
2. Use higher value reinforcement.
Pick an extra scrumptious treat or other activity that your dog will do back flips to earn. He'll be more likely to respond in a novel environment when the reward is worth the effort of ignoring the distraction. The interest will often change from situation to situation so have a variety to pick from.
3. Set realistic expectations.
Your dogs age and breed will play a part in your success rate. One year old Pearl the Poodle may shine when a ball rolls by but 6 month old Barney the Beagle will likely have big trouble when a squirrel crosses his path.