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Distract or Change Behaviors?

Many of our clients come to us with the notion of trying to “distract” their dog from something they have big feelings about such as other dogs or objects with wheels while on a walk. They are trying to cope with their dog’s behaviors, which can be difficult at times. When we train dogs, we work to change behaviors, which means changing your canine companion's feelings about triggers, such as other dogs. This is very different from distracting. Distracting can work in the moment if the dog is not going to see the trigger very often and you can hide it. However, while this may sometimes work in the moment, this does not solve the problem in the long term and may require you to always have to step in when a trigger is present. We assess the individual dog in front of us, and the big feelings they may have, so we can design a behavior modification plan that is tailored to your dog so we can work to eliminate the need for having those big feelings and having to always distract your dog. With the right training, change occurs making the need for constant vigilance and distraction unnecessary.

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