What is Proofing?
What is Proofing?
Proofing in dog training refers to a stage of training that is often referred to as distraction proofing. Distraction proofing SHOULD be the final stage of training completed and is the direct link needed to have a successful OFF LEASH dog, or a dog that will execute without the constant need of training tools. During proofing, the dog must be worked in obedience around distractions so that they learn that training isn’t just when they want it. It can be anywhere, at anytime and around any distraction. Distractions to dogs are just their instincts trying to take over but proper training through a distraction proofing stage teaches a dog that your training overrides their instincts.
What does your dog do when it sees a squirrel outdoors? Or when someone rings your doorbell? How about when your dog is with a group of dogs and you call them. Do they come as they should? These behaviors seem out of reach for many dog owners but in reality, the dog owner is merely just missing a determining factor in their training routine. Proofing!
How do you proof your dog? Keep in mind that this should be the LAST stage in training so if you aren’t there yet, take your dog through the learning and correctional stages FIRST. Then, when you’re ready to polish up all the training take to the distractions and watch the training come full circle! Here’s a couple ideas on how to help proof your dog:
- Use obedience in your games. Make your dog execute before throwing the ball, giving the treat, etc. A game of fetch can greatly be enhanced by you making your dog ‘sit’ or ‘down’ while you throw the reward. After they hold the command for 5 seconds, use your release word and allow them to fetch. This also greatly taps into both mental and physical energy in which both should be accomplished daily to fulfill your dog.
- If you enjoy the dog parks, head out with the idea in mind that you’re going to the dog park but you’re not going in! Use the outside fence line to run our dog through all of its obedience. Make them come when called, heel along the fence line, use your sitstays and downstays. The constant nuisance of the dogs inside the park will be plenty for needed distraction work.
- Setup scenarios round the home and make it a point to use your obedience around added distractions of doorbells, people coming and going, kids playing. Use your place command any time you need to gain control. Heck, I’d even be sure to run the dog through all of its commands with every new visitor.
It’s a way of life you’re after, not just “taking my dog to training.” As always your complete staff is available to guide you and answer any and all of your questions.
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