Creating the Dog Training environment
Creating a dog training environment is the second step after a relationship is created.
Once the relationship has been established, it is very helpful to have a location that sets the training mode. Besides the trainer now being a source of good things and information, the trainer should establish a place that is also connected with the hope that good things are happening here.
The trainer takes the dog to the location ( a specific room for example) and let’s the dog familiarize itself with the environment. He can sniff or look around all he wants. Thus it helps to possibly have a room that doesn’t have much in it, or that the dog is already very familiar with. So his curiosity is not overwhelming. He of course should not necessary encounter scary objects.
Once he is familiarized with the surroundings good things should happen. It is very helpful to provide his daily meal in that location. Or take him to the prospective training room and play with him. It depends on if play drive or food drive is the most desired by him. That observation should determine which kind of reinforcement is going to be used in actual training later on. The environment is created similar to a classroom for kids at school. Others might argue that we want the dog to perform behaviors in all environment under any distraction, and therefore the thought of training location is not serving the purpose of reaching the final goal. Comparing it with
kids at school, the process being successful for centuries, we don’t see this argument.
I remember my first day at school:It was a great meet and greet with teachers other kids and their parents. In Germany it is tradition that kids at first day at school are given a cone shaped canister, that was filled with small toys and candy! What a first impression that was, going to school for the first time! I was introduced to the very classroom where everything was going to take place. We met the very teacher that gave our lessons for the first three years as well. Yes it was a specific room, with a specific teacher, even labeled at the door- 1B. That was the index for my group, my class. Everything happened on a schedule in that very room for the first three years. Then, as we advanced, it all scattered all over the school, different rooms different teachers and so on….
And remember how we are taught to write? First in the same book, same line, one letter at a time, over and over. Then the next one. Writing lower case, upper case. Until I had the hang of it and letters were combined into words, then sentences!
Apply those principles to your dog training, by creating the environment. Once the dog is able to function by those principles reliably within the training environment you are ready to take the show on the road very carefully, by changing the environment gradually not overextending your demands!