Are you and your dog ready for some challenges in the real world?
A store is a fabulous spot to train your dog. The following is a compilation of some ideas to help you practice. Use them as a springboard for your own creative training ideas. Your instructor can help you determine if you and your dog are ready for these challenges, and help decide the best public places and times to practice them. Practice in public places with your instructor to gain understanding of how to work with your dog in distracting, real-life situations. That way, you’ll have the proper tools in your toolbox before heading out on your own. Be sure to have fun!!
Note: As always, we want you and your dog to achieve success. Head for these challenges only if the preliminary work has been done and you and your instructor believe that you and your dog are ready for them. Tips: Always be aware of what your dog is doing. Consider these outings training times instead of shopping trips until your dog is well-practiced.
- Go to different areas of the store and browse. What is an appropriate behavior for your dog in various departments? A Stay with Front, Down, Sit, Stand? Something else? For example, while you are looking at merchandise on a higher shelf, your dog might be in a Front. But if you are checking out things on a low shelf, a Front may not work. If you are trying on shoes, it’s probably most convenient if your dog is on some other behavior near you, since you would be moving around.
- While you are moving around the store, practice various types of leash work. Try Let’s Go and Close (if you have practiced them both before) in various areas of the store. Add challenge to this exercise by going down aisles that have distractions, such as the dog food aisle, a food aisle, an aisle where there are other customers, someplace where employees are stocking shelves, a garden center… Look for challenging situations and head right for them! You’ll feel great when you meet them!
- Get an item of clothing and try it on. Is there a dressing room big enough for you and your dog? What will you do with your dog while you are trying on the clothes?
- Try on some shoes. You’ll need to walk around to see how they feel. What will your dog be doing while you’re walking around?
- Take your dog in the restroom.
- Visit the snack bar, if the store has one, and have (or pretend to have) a snack. Where will your dog be and what will he/she be doing?
- Visit the garden center, if there is one. Very different challenges in a garden center! Smells, sights, even visiting birds.
- Practice Stays in various areas of the store. Find areas of distraction that are an appropriate challenge for your dog. Note: Do not drop the leash to practice distance Stays. Take a helper to hold the leash if you want to practice distance Stays.
- Leave It opportunities are everywhere! Opportunities will present themselves naturally, and you can provide others. For example, while your dog is in a Front/Stay, you could drop something on the ground near your dog.
- Go through the checkout aisle.
- Get a shopping cart and do any of the above ideas.