Training Different Behaviors in a Single Session
Yes, I do teach different behaviors during the same training period, and I have not found that my doing so caused confusion for any of my dogs. I like to keep my teaching sessions as lifelike as possible, and by that I mean that all teaching is not just for competition but for real life circumstances: guests arriving at the home, visits to the groomer, or to the vet clinic, car travel, guests in others' homes, etc. We practice sit-stays and down-stays on numerous real-life occasions. As each dog matures, I add the wait command because it is very useful. I've had as many as four dogs wait at the porch landing while I call one at a time to come down the steps.
When we travel in the car to a new training spot, to expose the dog to working amid distractions, naturally we must walk from the parking lot to the tennis court or the softball field. So we heel from the parking lot. We do figure eights around the trees in the park or at the freeway rest stop. I teach *come fore* or *front* (but call it *come*) in my living room first, then in the back yard, and later take it to new locales. Since the dogs learn the automatic sit early in their training, adding the formal come (sit) has not been a problem.
Oftentimes I may break up a training session with a natural interrupter: a few moments to stop and chat with someone, or to just stroll, loose-lead walking, perhaps stop for the dog to have a drink of water. And then resume the lesson. I like my dogs to become accustomed to learning these skills as part of life, not as isolated incidents.
Barbara D. Brill
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