When do you need IN-HOME training?
Highly Distractible Puppies
Easily distracted puppies and young dogs who need help learning the basics, such as command vocabulary (sit, down, stay, come, and off). Puppies (and some older exceptions) start from zero. They have no vocabulary, no concept of the rules, and they don’t need additional distractions; they need to understand the meaning of the word/command. Working in the home is best for minimizing distractions and setting them up for success. This is because the house is familiar, there is nothing new to explore, and the most interesting thing in such a setting is an engaged owner (or trainer) giving the dog their attention and possible rewards.
Vocabulary is the primary pillar in obedience training. If the dog doesn’t know what you’re saying, you have near zero chance of him doing the command. This seems obvious, but we see owners frequently repeating a command repeatedly, in a high-distraction environment, that the dog doesn’t know in hopes that it will suddenly work. Vocabulary is taught best one-on-one, so the lesson can be customized to the learner. One-on-one, the necessary accommodations can quickly be identified and made. Without distractions, we isolate the understanding of the command itself (we don’t mistake confusion for distraction). This allows the trainer to quickly address points of confusion that would otherwise hinder the acquisition rate.
Lastly, it is important to remember that vocabulary is usually NOT the main reason your dog has unreliable obedience. Most of the time, dogs (except for very young puppies and dogs coming from no human contact situations) DO understand the vocabulary, but they are too distracted. They are too fixated on something else to even hear the command or are choosing to deprioritize it since it conflicts with their desired action. This is a prioritization issue, not a vocabulary one. The dog needs to be more focused and prioritize obedience, and no amount of vocabulary knowledge will address this issue. This is simple to remedy, but we must first identify the real problem, which can easily be done by testing the dog in a low-distraction environment.
Dogs whose issue primarily takes place in the home, on the property, or nearby the home, such as separation anxiety, window barking, food aggression towards owner or family, fence fighting with the neighbor dog, digging holes, territorial aggression towards strangers, or dogs who are only reactive when walking in their own neighborhood. A core pillar of the Chill Out Dog Training method is to provide feedback as the misbehavior occurs to mark it as such and reduce its occurrence in the future. The best way to create valuable learning moments is to go to the setting of the transgression and set the stage so that it is likely to occur (but never encourage the dog to misbehave). Should the behavior occur just as often in a public setting, such as a park, the pet store, or any sidewalk in any neighborhood, we usually have more practice opportunities by taking the training to that location.
The setting itself can be a major factor in misbehavior. To identify this, consider whether the misconduct occurs frequently in other environments. Sometimes the temptation that provokes misbehavior is very much an at-home thing, such as the bathroom trash bin or the dog’s food bowl. Some insecure dogs are more comfortable at home, so they’re more comfortable lashing out or misbehaving there compared to new settings. Some insecure dogs feel that if they don’t assert themselves on their home turf, they’ll have nowhere to find security. Regardless of the reason for the misbehavior, the way out is through, so we need it to be present to solve it.
Behaviors that we want to reduce or eliminate can not be targeted if they are not occurring, so we need to be on-site to even begin addressing such an issue. Being on-site allows us to observe the misbehavior in real-time and provide meaningful feedback and guidance. Most misbehaviors require a direct intervention to reduce or extinguish and aren’t likely to fade completely on their own or by training others (though it can sometimes help if the behaviors are strongly related). Should the behavior not manifest, we can only discuss protocols and preventative measures – we like to avoid this since live training produces real-time results.
Multiple dog households with in-pack fighting or aggression in or around the house. Again, we need to be in the setting where the behavior issues are occurring, so it makes sense to come to the scene of the activity. We can easily set up scenarios that have previously provoked problem behavior between the dogs, such as feeding or food prep in the kitchen. For example, we could lay a high-value chew (like a bone) down on the floor, have both dogs on a leash with a dedicated handler, have them enter the contested space from either side of the room, then see if either of them is tempted to become possessive/territorial over the item and respond accordingly.
We can provide specific protocols customized to the living environment rather than generic guidelines. For example, when issues happen around your kitchen, we would assess the floor plan and provide you with directions specific to your home – where to stand, where to lead the dog, and perhaps which piece of furniture would work best to temporarily secure the dog’s leash to prevent full access to dangerous misbehavior.
Dramatic or embarrassing issues between your dogs can be worked through in the privacy of your own home. When your dogs’ misbehavior is likely to draw attention and occurs mostly on your own property, we can typically avoid unwanted attention by working through most of the problems within the privacy of the home. There is no need to go out and cause a scene when we can resolve the behavior on your property.
We would mainly want to train the dog in their own home to overcome challenges that occur in that setting. For the same reason, most dogs benefit more from away-from-the-house training since the temptations found in busy pedestrian areas or nature are the major factor for misbehavior. Chill Out Dog Training will focus on your goals and your issues. We may point out that there are prerequisite skills that directly support your goal, but we do not uniformly apply the same directives to every case. We do not require the same foundation for every dog; we go after your goal in the most direct manner possible.
So if you have an at-home issue, schedule your session today, select “My Home or Other” as the location, and then provide us with your address so we can get to work. We are excited to help your dog Chill Out!