For teaching your dog to sit and stay with distractions, you should try with treats, leash, and applause. It is also a good idea to have a senior dog who has already learn the sit/stay command.
After bringing a new puppy home, most dog owners are so caught up in the cuteness of the fur babies that they forget to introduce training as soon as possible. Some of these puppies morph into teenage and adulthood having caught up some bad behaviors and have never been trained against.
The truth is, a puppy can be trained as soon as it gets home. And among the various ways, dogs are trained, some of the popular words used include: Sit and Stay.
What is Sit and Stay?
Sit and stay are commands issued to a dog during training to make it sit or stay. Sit teaches a dog to keep still at a place.
Stay is also another command that promotes excellent self-control and a dog that understands this command has several advantages.
Start Training With Distractions and Then Remove Them
1. Before practicing sit and stay around distractions, your dog should be able to understand and follow those commands in a neutral area for some time. This could be a few seconds or even some minutes.
2. Start by introducing short but consistent sessions while at a neutral zone since this works best then later proceed and train around distractions.
After your dog is able to hold still for some seconds, you can begin to train him around low and medium distractions (such as a doorbell or people visiting) before getting at high-level distractions such as streets with busy honking cars.
3. Figure out what motivates your dog and when they’ve achieved the target, reward them with their favorite treats or toys.
4. Create a cue word that informs him of your reactions and use it when the dog performs the desired action.
The cue can be a sign or even a word. For example, You could smile and pet it while calling his pet name then give the reward. Holding a stop sign with your hand in front of his face could also be another cue to inform him to stop.
5. But before all that, it’s important to know that your dog will not train effectively around distractions if he can’t even get your attention. Work on him to pay attention to you first.
How to Train Your Dog to Wait for Food
1) Get him on a leash
Before you introduce him to distractions of any kind, get your dog on a leash.
Training your dog around distractions is harder than in neutral areas. This means even the most disciplined dogs may get too excited and rowdy when they see a squirrel or cat.
Getting him on a leash ensures you still have control over his behavior should he get untamable.
2) Start with baby steps
It’s unrealistic to expect a dog new to train to hold concentration for a few minutes.
Start with a few seconds and work your way to a few minutes with him. As his concentration increases, he’ll get less distracted.
3) Enjoy the journey together
Every time he completes a milestone, celebrate together. Reward him for every duration he holds your attention and increase the duration length once he completes the previous milestone.
Carry his most favorite treats for the training always and reward him for every milestone he achieves. You could also carry some toys and play with him after the session is over. That way, it’s not only exciting to the dog, it’s enjoyable to you too.
4) Tag along another experienced dog
If it’s possible, bring an experienced dog with you to the training. That way, your dog will learn faster when he realizes that the other dog is able to stay calm and isn’t easily distracted by the surroundings.
Also, you could enroll your dog in a training class where he’ll be able to interact with other dogs at his level and even make some friends.
This way, during the training he may probably learn better from another dog friend or the trainer than how you’re teaching him. This is okay since all dogs learn differently.
The above steps have been outlined with the help of treats, if you don’t want to use treats and any kind of force, then I have an article on training the sit command naturally without treats.
Why train with distractions?
1) It creates a bond time with your dog
For every moment you spend training your dog, you’re creating precious memories. You’re also adjusting to each other and creating a special bond between both of you.
2) It teaches good behavior
A dog that stays still patiently waiting for his food is definitely more likable than another which greedily gobbles up everything while you’re still serving him.
This is just one of many scenarios that differentiate a trained dog to one that isn’t.
3) It refrains your dog from the reflex impulse which keeps him out of trouble
Teaching your dog in high distraction areas builds a lot of resilience in him; this makes the dog stay calm in times of crisis instead of getting him in danger.
4) It reduces anxiety
A dog that is trained around distractions is well adapted to the environments around him. If you’re to take such a dog into a mall or crowded areas, it’ll be able to easily blend in without bringing a lot of attention to itself.
A dog that isn’t trained with distractions will get anxious or even get sick.
What are the challenges?
1) Tugging on the leash
It’s very frustrating to train a dog when it’s pulling on the leash. For starters, it causes harm and irritation to the dog’s neck and trachea.
Second, the person holding the leash may get dragged and lose balance; putting both the dog and the person at risk.
One good way to solve this is to stop the walk every time the dog pulls on the leash. And by stopping the walk, the dog will get the cue that there’s no teaching until he stops tugging on the leash.
It is so common for dogs to pull on the leash and I made it a first point to have a good and helpful resource on How To Train A Dog To Walk On A Leash Without Pulling
2) Jumping up when they see something exciting
Jumping up and down from small puppies is endeared by many people but when a grown dog jumps at you it can even knock you off balance.
Some dogs jump high with great force that it becomes a trip hazard. Resuming training and guiding them off from those distractions can be hard.
Try and identify the things that create the least distractions to your dog and start with those then work your way to the hardest. Along the way, remember to reward the dog for every time it’s able to score off a distraction.
I wanted to mention here there is also a separate article dedicated only to solving the jumping issues with dogs.
3) Not responding to a call
A good dog knows to respond to its name. When a dog listens and obeys you, you’re able to save him during times of emergency or crisis.
Train your dog to know the pet name you’ve chosen for him and reward for every time he positively responds to your calling.
What are the training Do’s and Dont’s?
1) Reward your dog for good behavior
Just like humans, dogs are motivated to a task by the reward they’ll get. Rewards don’t always have to be high-value treats. It can be his favorite meal, his special sheets or just a walk along with the neighborhood.
The rewards can continue even after training periods but don’t make them the only reason why your dog is training.
2) Don’t make the training sessions too long
It’s easy to get excited during the training and want your dog to keep up the pace until you’re tired.
But, the concentration span of a puppy is way less than that of a grown dog. The concentration span will increase as your dog grows older but never keep the teaching on unless both you and your dog are okay with it.
3) Learn to train in different areas
Your dog may be used to overcoming distractions around your backyard but he’s not overcome all distractions.
Take him out in the woods, along the river, by a busy street or even at crowded parks. Teach him to stay controlled in almost all areas.
4) Don’t depend on excitement to get your dog’s attention
Every time you shower your dog with excitement to overcome distraction makes it harder for you to control your dog’s behavior.
By doing this, you’re competing with the other distractions for your dog’s attention and he’ll tune you out the moment something more interesting catches his eyes.
Congratulate him in your normal voice. That way despite everything around him, he’ll pay attention to what you say next.
5) Be calm at all times
Training a dog is similar to training a baby. You’ll need to repeat a single command several times before he gets it. Be patient and don’t unleash your fury when the dog isn’t following your instructions.
And despite anything, don’t whip the dog for not keeping up with your pace.
Teaching a dog to sit and stay with distractions isn’t actually easy but with patience, it’s well worth it. A dog that is well taught has high levels of confidence in itself and becomes very likable.
Molding young puppies are easier to teaching adult dogs; but with patience and care, even those that have picked wrong behaviors can easily be corrected with time.
If everything else fails, don’t hesitate to contact a certified dog trainer for help.
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