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Monday, October 10, 2011

Location, Location, Location

I am a firm believer that where you train a dog is just as important as how you train one, and I believe this for a few reasons. First of all, the fewer distractions, the better. That goes for both human and dog- if you're in a store or populated public area, the task of keeping your attention focused on the training becomes infinitely more difficult. Secondly, if there is a specific behavior that you are looking to correct, it is important to address that behavior first in the location where it happens most frequently. That way, as a trainer, you can see a true representation of the problem, and as an owner, you don't feel like you've taken your car to the mechanic and the problem no longer occurs.

Dogs, as a rule, aren't great at generalizing. You'll notice that even though you've trained your pooch not to jump on your couch at home, if you take him to someplace else with a couch, he will often test his boundaries and see if THIS couch is just as off-limits as the one in your house. The good news is, once he's been trained correctly to listen to your commands, it will probably be a lot easier to keep him from the new couch even though it is in an unfamiliar setting.

Does this mean you should ONLY train a dog in one place? Absolutely not. In fact, once you get basic obedience down, it's very beneficial to practice in many different locations so that your dog knows that he should always look to you for instructions, no matter where you are. However, I do believe in-home training can be advantageous to all involved parties for the reasons I stated above. Just make sure, if you choose to train in your own home, that your dog still gets ample opportunity to socialize with other dogs!

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