Training bark around distractions

And some good barking in the house!

I have been a bit more mobile today.  I even spent the entire day in the living room.  That is a good thing.  It gave me a chance to train Grom to bark a bit in the house.

Heidi barking in snow

Heidi will bark no matter how much snow there is!

Sure, your dog may bark on command, but will he bark when you are laying down, walking, sitting up, staring at the ceiling?  How about when a squirrel runs across his path, or a cat, or even another dog?  Many people are surprised that dogs just don’t know how to generalize. When you are training a dog something new, he must learn the command in all contexts.  When we will be out in the woods looking for a lost person, I wont be standing still staring at the dog.  I will be walking, staring at maps, scraping my boot, messing with my pack, testing the wind, looking in trees, eating a snack, and various other things.  You can be sure the wild and wonderful outdoors is not going to be as boring as your living room or backyard.  There are all kinds of things out there to tempt a dog.

Train in all sorts of situations, places, weather, and distractions.  Start easy and go slow.  Try and change only one thing at a time.  Don’t expect your dog to obey you while you are climbing a tree next to the dog park when all you have done is practice in your kitchen.

Today, I practiced Grom’s bark command inside the house.  I would sneak away when he wasn’t looking and ask for his bark command, “preach.”  He would have to run through the house looking for me.  When he found me he had to bark his head off.  I did this several times.  Sometimes he would find me sitting down.  Sometimes I would be laying on the floor or sitting on the bed.  Once I stared at the ceiling in a corner and completely ignored him.  He nearly came out of his skin trying to get my attention.  Boy, did he get a good reward for that one!

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