Generalization Journey — Part 2

This is the second post in the series Generalization Journey, which gives systematic ways to make sure your dog knows trained behaviors in lots of different environments and circumstances. Click Part 1 to read an introduction to generalization, and to read about one way to vary things.

Variation 2: Your Orientation to an Object

This variation applies to exercises that involve interacting with or being near an object. Examples: Settle on a mat; the Under exercise, where the dog learns to lie beneath a table, bench, or chair; Targeting; Leave It. The goal is for your dog to do the requested behavior no matter what your orientation is to the mat, the table, or the leave-it item. In teaching your dog these exercises, most likely you’ve been facing your dog and the object, so Fluffy needs the picture to be varied to continue on the journey toward being able to do the exercise in all circumstances.

For example, when you work on Settle, turn a bit sideways to the mat and work on the exercise that way, then turn farther, and so forth. Eventually you want your dog to be able to do a Settle no matter if you’re facing the mat, sideways to the mat, have your back to the mat, etc. For now, this is not combined with distance practice; remember the principle of just varying one thing at a time, and only vary your orientation to the object. A later post will discuss how to combine the variations.

Happy training!

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