During my recent Sunday evening Polite Pooches in Public Class, we met at Clement Park in Littleton and walked around the lake trail. This gave us plenty of opportunities for our dogs to practice dealing with distractions such as walkers, dogs being walked, bicyclists, skateboarders, prairie dogs, trash on the trail, and various other distractions.

For the most part, all of the dogs in class did very well. The majority of the time, every dog was walking relatively well. Some are still working on improving their leash manners, but for the most part everyone did as well or better than they have been doing.

As much as we would like our dogs to be perfect (because we’re so perfect ourselves, right?!) some of them had brief moments when their behavior was not what we wanted to see. For example, when some dogs are overaroused by something (another dog or a skateboarder, let’s say) they will bark and/or lunge. For one dog in class, this happened three times during the entire hour. Each of these situations lasted perhaps a few seconds up to several seconds. Let’s say each situation lasted 10 seconds, and there were three of them. That would be 30 seconds of outbursts. For an hour, that makes 60 seconds per minute times 60 minutes for a total of 3600 seconds. So 30 out of 3600 seconds equals less than 1% of the entire time we were working!

While those outbursts or times when our dogs are not behaving their best tend to be the times that stick most in our minds, you have to remember that for more than 99% of the time, the dog was very well-behaved and making good choices!

Sure, we would like that to be 100%, but don’t forget to celebrate and reward your dog when he or she is being good. Don’t get so focused on the “bad” stuff that you don’t see all the good stuff.

Happy training!