The Importance and Ease of High-Distraction Practice
Maybe you’ve been diligent with your dog, practicing commands at home, but you’re finding the routine growing slightly stale with the same familiar places. It’s important, especially if you want to take your dog to busy and high-distraction situations, that you practice and reinforce commands with your dog in a variety of environments.
Why Practice in New Locations?
Practicing commands at home, while good for maintaining general training, can create habits for your dog and doesn’t expose your pooch to situations that demand immediate focus and recall. By going to public locations with more unpredictability, you and your dog get to practice necessary responses and behaviors in situations where obedience is crucial to the safety of your dog and those around you. Plus, it gives your dog a new mental challenge and ultimately strengthens your long-term relationship with your pup.
So, get out there and practice everything you’ve learned with Off-Leash K9 with this handy list of five convenient, high-distraction environments perfect for taking your dog to and showing off your skills. We encourage you to maintain safe social distancing and mask-wearing practices per local and Federal regulations and leash restrictions when going on any of the outings listed below.
Home Improvement Stores
Home improvement stores are generally some of the more dog friendly retail locations, making them perfect for you and your canine companion to frequent. Home Depot and Lowe’s are two of the most popular chains that boast pet-friendliness and, in addition to all of the interesting home improvement toys for you, are the perfect places to take your pup for some high-distraction training practice. The people (especially on a busy weekend day), other dogs, and plethora of potential chew toys makes these locations ideal for some diligent “heel,” “come,” and “sit” practice. Check out this video of our trainers and pups at Home Depot on a “field trip” for an example!
If you live south of Denver, the Castle Rock Outlets are an ideal outdoor shopping destination to take your dog for some high-distraction training (check out the video below of one of our trainees, Gunner, doing exactly that). Closer to Downtown Denver? Try walking along 16th Street Mall. Outdoor strip malls are rich with high-distraction situations for dogs especially during the warmer months when people tend to frequent them. In either situation, there are bound to be lots of people, animals, shopping bags, and more that are fighting for your dog’s attention – the perfect situation to test your training mettle.
Farmers Market/Street Fairs
Local farmer’s markets and street fairs are equally ideal locations for high-distraction training, not to mention the fun and treasures you’re bound to find there. Generally located in outdoor venues like parking lots, these typically dog-friendly events boast a bountiful mix of everything from vendors to food trucks and even pet adoption fairs. Keeping your dog focused here will be the ultimate training test.
Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Wash Park and Cheesman Park in Denver, Red Rocks in Morrison, the list goes on and on! Colorado has no shortage of open, scenic, and fantastic parks rich with both amenities and high-distraction opportunities. As the weather warms up, these hot spots become increasingly busy and packed with people, picnics, and pets. Keeping Fido’s focus while the frisbees fly and the hot dogs cook will be nothing short of an adventurous test of training. And who knows, maybe it’ll be the perfect place to make new friends for puppy play dates. Check out Bandit practicing “Heel” at Garden of the Gods in this video.
Casual, fun, and increasing in popularity, breweries are a veritable hot spot for humans and dogs alike. Generally dog friendly and often times equipped with more luxurious patios than even indoor spaces, these places offer a plethora of distractions to practice keeping your dog’s attention. Whether it’s a food truck, other dogs, or flying beanbags from a heated game of cornhole, these places are definitely a great summer go-to. Just don’t forget to check that your favorite watering hole is fur-baby friendly before you go!
Ready to train your dog for off-leash training at any of these locations or more? Need to refresh your training? Call Off-Leash K9 today for more information and program packages.