Question: Mixed Obedience Behavior After Training
“My two-year-old male mixed breed is enrolled in an obedience training class. As far as I’m concerned, my dog is learning just fine, because, at home, he goes through all of the exercises perfectly. He knows how to heel, sit, stay, and lay down on command, but when I take him to class each week, it’s as if he’s never learned a thing.”
“The trainer doesn’t seem to be too upset about it, and always just tells me that it will work itself out. For some reason I don’t feel confident about this and was wondering if you could tell me why my dog behaves this way.”
It’s quite normal that your dog would go through his obedience exercises at home, yet turn into a class clown at school – if you are constantly practicing in a distraction-free environment. In class, there are distractions all around – other dogs, other people, other sounds.
If your trainer doesn’t seem to be too worried about the situation, then you are probably doing everything right insofar as making necessary corrections for inattention, etc. But I would certainly advise you to get your dog out of your backyard during your daily training sessions, and into locations where distractions are present.
Obedience is needed most in time of emergency. If your dog is easily distracted and fails to be obedient during periods of distraction, then you won’t ever be justified in saying that you have an obedience-trained dog. Work your dog in the midst of distraction, so that he becomes accustomed to the requirement of obedience – and realizes that his responsibility for being obedient includes times of emergency.