Control Opportunities for Mistakes

1 minute read

The whole philosophy behind You Decide is that your dog must make a decision for himself in order to truly learn. If you hold him by the collar to make sure he doesn’t jump on someone, you can’t be sure he’s learned to stop jumping. All you know is he was forced not to jump.

It’s important, however, that you control the opportunities for mistakes. If you’re just getting started in training, you probably have a lot that you want to work on, and it’s impossible to work on all of it at once. That means when you’re not directly training, you’ll want to remove temptations for your dog to mess up.

Don’t leave shoes out for him to chew. Don’t set your bowl of popcorn on the coffee table and leave it alone with your dog while you go to the bathroom.

Once your dog matures and you have established a strong foundation of training, these things will become less of a risk, but especially early on, you want to be very conscious of the opportunities you’re giving your dog to mess up.

It’s harder to stop a trained behavior than to train a new one. If your dog learns he can get some delicious food by knocking over the kitchen trash can, it’s hard to get him to not do that.

Remember the idea of practice makes perfect? It's true for all behaviors—even the ones you don't want.