Have you ever trained your dog to do something in one room and then discovered that he doesn’t do it as well anywhere else? Dogs tend to learn things connected to location, which is why it’s good to do training in a variety of places. Once your dog has learned some things (sit, down, tricks, etc.) in various places inside your home, it’s time to go outside.
But… you may lose your dog’s attention! As one person wrote to me, “She listens to everything in the house but when we’re outside, there are times when it’s like she can’t even hear me.”
She can’t… it’s called selective awareness, and we all have it at times. Our big wide world is such a fascinating place, with so many great smells, sounds, sights! How can you compete with a squirrel?
TRAINING TIP: To work outside with your dog, it’s easiest in the most boring (to the dog) place you can imagine, and at a time when there isn’t much else going on. Start almost as though you had never trained the sit or whatever before. Take it one simple step at a time, in short sessions. Don’t let your dog run loose in a large area if you are trying to keep his attention. Outdoor training may work best after the dog has had some exercise, so you might begin with a few moments of training, go for a walk, maybe do some during the walk if circumstances allow, and then do more before going indoors.
(Of course, be safe about where you let your dog run loose. Yeah, I know I’ve said that before, but I’ve got to mention it here too.)