All of the training up until now should’ve been practiced ONLY inside; with the exception of the walking on a lead, “steady”. It’s an entirely different world outside to your dog. They now are not in a controlled environment any longer. Outside becomes a haven for “sensory overload”! They will NOW need to LEARN how to deal with new smells, sounds, sights and feels. Keep in mind how magnified everything is to a dog; especially when they are outside. It takes time for them to get adjusted outside with you at the end of their lead.
YOU are now in COMPETITION with the ENVIRONMENT. You MUST become INTERESTING to your dog!!
The point of taking field trips is two-fold. First, to introduce your dog to certain cues outside and secondly, to guide you in knowing what to and what not to do when they are out there. It’s ALL a learning process. Patience is mandatory! Socialization, particularly with people, is imperative to your dog’s well being. Without it, your dog can easily become unsure, anxious, and fearful. Unsocialized dogs live a life of silent pain. They are never sure what to expect or how to handle certain situations. With socialization, your dog can easily be taken with you wherever you go. Your dog will be a pleasure to be with and a joy for people to meet. You will have a confident and well rounded dog. You will have a happy heart knowing your dog is well adjusted. Now THAT, is an incredible feeling!!!
But this is ONLY possible with YOU. Your dog can NOT socialize him/herself. It must be a top priority to socialize your dog to a wide variety of people, especially children, men and strangers BEFORE your dog is 12 weeks old! A smart rule of thumb is that your pup needs to meet AT LEAST 100 people BEFORE he/she is three months old.
Since it’s best to keep your pup at home while he/she is quite young, you will need to make a concerted effort to invite people over to your home. In other words, have “puppy parties”! YOU must train your visitors. Give treats to your guests to give to your pup! Have them gently handle your dog! You are on your way to socializing your little one in a positive fashion.
Expose your dog to as many different (not scary!) things as possible. What we take for granted can and quite often are extremely scary for our dogs. Walking a pup on a busy street is not enjoyable. Take quiet walks and work your way up to a busier road. Bicycles are not scary to use but they sure are to dogs. Pair food with your dog every time a biker peddles by. This will teach your dog to welcome a biker and lessen the likely hood of fear developing.
Remember, it’s much more difficult to desensitize a fearful dog than it is to train through positive means to the world in which we live. Think about it. If you take the time now to get your dog familiar and accepting to all of the different things in our environment; then you will be able to bring your dog WITH YOU more places because they will be a courteous canine!!!
You NEED to make yourself very interesting. For these field trips, you will be guided on how to implement not only what you have been taught thus far but new material as well. Our goal is to coach you on how to set your dog up to feel safe, focus on you, follow your cues and have an enjoyable time exploring the outdoors all with his/her most FAVORITE person in his entire life – YOU!
1.) Be exciting – talk in a happy yet calm voice.
2.) Food – Rely heavily on food as your tool to win out over the distractions in the environment.
3.) Hand signals – use ALWAYS.
4.) Distance – add it to anything and everything. It makes it easier on your dog.
5.) Be patient … you will need to start from square one.
6.) HAVE FUN! Time outside for your dog is equivalent to you watching a phenomenal movie!