IMPORTANT THEORY – APPLY THIS TECHNIQUE TO ANY OBJECT YOU WANT YOUR DOG TO PASS
Passing dogs, bicycles, cars and other moving objects can be a challenge to many dogs. As you’re training your dog to avoid undesireable behaviour, it is crucial that you give your dog a chance to succeed by trying to block harmful encounters from happening.
The distances should be long enough because if the dog-in-training gets too close to another dog, it will be too stressed to take directions or to learn. As a result, it will not be able to offer the desired behaviour and will instead resort to old patterns. That way the training can take a step back and the process of learning gets longer.
What, then, is the right amount of distance? The answer is that it varies for every dog. For some, it may be 10m, when for others it could be 30m. At first, rather choose a distance which is too long than one that is too short, that way you can ensure your dog’s success. During this online class, we will focus on passing other dogs however, this same method can also be applied to passing any object which causes difficulties and undesired behaviour. The only condition being, that said object is available to practice with every day and from a sufficient distance so that your dog gets enough repetition.
SPONTANEOUS DISREGARDING AS A TECHNIQUE
We begin the training by teaching the dog how to spontaneously disregard any triggering objects. When a dog gets to offer the desired behaviour on their own, that behaviour pattern becomes stronger. You should, however keep in mind that teaching a dog a new behaviour for situations where it has to pass other dos will likely take a long time. During this process, it’s important that as an owner you avoid going on walks to places where the dog is put in situations which are too advanced for it. In other words, where there is not enough distance between the dogs. Avoid busy times as well.
WHY THIS TECHNIQUE WORKS?
So why does this technique work so well that we have successfully used it to train private students as well? The reason behind it is that this behavior is actually natural for dogs. Looking away and turning away are calming signals.
It is not helpful or necessary to use any commands or try to lure your dog into not looking at the other dog. In other words, upon seeing the triggering object (in this case another dog) they will spontaneusly disregard it as long as the owner makes sure that there is enough distance between the two so that the dog-in-training doesn’t get stressed. Many dogs don’t trust their handlers and feel unsafe when passing other dogs. That’s why even after your dog has successfully adopted this technique it is important to ensure a sufficient distance and safety for your dog.
We have trained dogs who’ve had problems with passing other dogs with this technique for years and seen results as fast as in one day! Of course you have to keep in mind that you may also fall some steps back in the first few weeks of training but you shouldn’t let that discourage you. Training can proceed quite quickly BUT as hard as it seems, remember to proceed cautiously and in a calm manner throughout each step.
By proceeding too quickly you may witness your dog responding well to the training in the beginning, but when you cross a line, the old, undesired behaviour will come back and you may have to return to square one to see that desired behaviour again. If the old behaviour returns or the dog fails to look away and disregard the object in question that means that the dog isn’t learning anything because the situation is too difficult for it.
In other words, repetition and patience are key!