Environmental Distractions

Today, I have a fun game you can play to proof any behavior against distractions. If I asked a group of dog lovers what makes their training difficult, at least 90 percent would say “distractions.” These distractions can take many forms:

  • Social distraction (other dogs, people)
  • Food and smell distractions
  • Play and prey distractions (things that move, cars, toys)

Let’s start by defining what a distraction really is:

Environmental Distractions

Think about it:
Distractions are the environment’s promise it makes to your dog that a reward is available from it. And the environment Never breaks its promise. When your dog pulls towards a tree, bush, or fire hydrant, instead of paying attention to you, it is guaranteed a good smell will be there. The environment never disappoints them.  So dogs quickly learn they can depend on the environment to provide that reward!

Compare that to how often dog lovers break their promise of a reward.


Here are some fantastic ways to prevent distractions from getting the best of you.

1 Learn what rewards your dog values and your dog’s hierarchy of value for those rewards.
2 Grow different ways to deliver your rewards as opposed to handing them to your dog.  Instead try:

  • tossing them
  • Having your dog chase rewards you have in your hand
  • Having your dog catch the reward
  • Etc.

3 Plan structured training games, involving distractions instead of waiting for your dog to come across distractions that you can’t control.
4 Teach your dog to go through you to gain access to those environmental rewards.

Here is a video of a simple game you can start playing right now at home to teach that.

This game will:
• teach your dog self-control
• give you control
over environmental rewards

• teach your dog to go through you to get what is wants

All you need is:
• some of your dog’s food
A bowl with a flat bottom so it does not tip over

Sometimes it can feel difficult to fit training into your already packed schedule.  The good news is just 3 minutes of fun, effective, training will give you fantastic results.

I hope you have a lot of fun with this game, Let me know how it goes!

Check out our effective in-person and online dog training options

Real-Life Deep Dives – In Person Training
House Hold Manners Deep Dives – In Person Training
Serious Manners & Obedience – Online Self-Study Program



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Author – Debbie Schaefer

Debbie has been successfully teaching dog lovers how to rambunctious, rude, disobedient dogs into Well-Mannered companions since 1987.

That means there are few bad behaviors Debbie can’t tame or troublesome pups Debbie can’t help turn into well-mannered dogs.

With training, your dog can be a great companion, a fun part of your life.