What is Proofing?
Sooo, as you all know, we put Jake and Maggie through training and have been working with them using all the “key” words they have learned. I had no idea I was “Proofing” them until I read more about it. What does PROOFING mean? 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.
We have gone through so many stages with the pups from them eating mulch like it’s candy, chasing birds, and now they have fallen in love with butterflies and moths. We use the command “Leave it” or “drop it” which works fine but I had no idea I was “Proofing” them when using the “Stay” and “Come” command in all areas of the yard, driveway, and garage. I was so proud of the dogs the other day because the neighbor was mowing his yard across the street and the other neighbors were having a party and they did not “react”. They actually laid down, relaxed and watched all the action.
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. I also make sure their training is in short time periods and reward them accordingly. I’ve been told to use treats and to not use treats and I just use my own judgement. I typically, when starting out something new, will use a treat they enjoy like carrots or zucchini but being repetitive I only use my tone of voice and making sure I pet them when they’ve done something good. I make sure I use positivity reinforcement and correction when needed.
If your dog does not come when it’s called or reacts to other dogs or people, you and your dog are missing a determining factor in their training and that’s PROOFING! Make sure that your dog is polished on everything that you want them to learn and then work on the proofing stage. This should be the last stage of training.
Some ways to use obedience is with games. If your playing ball in the yard, make your dog sit for 5 seconds before releasing them when you throw the ball. This improves their mental and physical energy to. And, any chance you get while walking them, make sure they heal and listen to your commands. I’m not a fan of dog parks but I enjoy walking with the dogs around the yard and neighborhood. This gives them not only exercise but mental stimulation and allows you to correct any bad behaviors as reactive tendencies to distractions such as cars, people, or other dogs. A walk should be fun for all involved!
“Say what?” “Yes, we do want our carrots!”
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