Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Clarity and Calm In A Chaotic World, Handling Distractions

How often are you distracted during the day? It's a question that's almost laughable, right? Most of us are distracted several times, if not dozens of times, every day. We get emergency emails and phone calls. We take breaks to browse the Internet. Co-workers walk into our office for a quick chat, or send us amusing instant messages. The washer starts making loud noises; the refrigerator is leaking; the dog pee’d on the carpet; it’s never ending the amount of “extra” things we deal with in daily life then we planned for. Now imagine living in a world that wasn’t designed for a human. How many distractions would there be? Everything is strange and noisy and smelly. This is what our dogs contend with while living with us. There are cars and trucks, bicycles and skateboards, noises from toaster and microwave, the a/c or heater clanking into gear – a million sounds, smells, sights and even emotions that nature never intended for canines to endure. What's more (and depending on the complexity of the environment), regaining concentration after a distraction can take quite a few minutes. If a dog is distracted 10 times a day, it's easy to see why our dogs might end up with anxiety, stress, and even aggressive behaviors. They also have to deal with our stress over things that are incomprehensible to them. It doesn’t matter if you are a dog trainer, a sport trainer or just a pet owner. More often than not, your actions may be the trigger to your dog’s stress. Rather than minimize the distractions, train in a distraction free zone and gradually build up tolerance to what is basically a foreign environment, this class is going to teach you how to immunize your dog before you even start thinking about “proofing” behaviors or getting “fluency”. Imagine that upon entering a new space your dog has the skills to investigate and familiarize himself with all that is there with minimal stress. Imagine that your dog after having done this investigation turns to you and says “Let’s work!!!”. This class will teach your dog and YOU how to stay relatively stress free no matter what life throws at you; how to see similarities and differences in a new environment versus environments you already know and understand; how to investigate a new object and decide that it’s not dangerous and might be fun; and most importantly, how to play no matter where you and your dog are so that learning is enhanced and stress minimized.
June 1st at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy

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