Do you have a dog who seems hyper-fixated on the environment when you go from inside to outside, over/through a threshold, or simply when something changes? They seemingly forget you exist and then they are much harder to handle as a result. 

No problem. Let’s teach them to relinquish the environment and reorient to you for direction. 

In the end, your dog will notice an environmental change and automatically re-orient to you – no cue required! 

Step One:

  • Begin in a very easy environment with the dog on leash. This is often in a room in your home, with the door closed.
  • Plant yourself and hold the handle of the leash without tension. Do not shorten the leash.
  • Open the door but do not move your feet or hands. The dog will likely look out into the next room or even step out into the next room. Stand and wait silently.

Step Two:

  • Watch your dog’s head and ears.
  • When the dog disengages from that environment, meaning when s/he looks away from it, sniffs the ground, turns their head, or looks at you, say “YES!!” (or mark with a clicker) and immediately reward with a treat beside your leg.
  • Toss another treat into the room in which you started, and close the door. You’re ready for another repetition.

Step Three:

  • Repeat until the dog ‘gets it’ and begins to purposely and quickly look away from the environment to get a reward.
  • Now try another room!
  • Now try the back door!
  • Now try the front door!
  • Now try the local pet store!
  • …you get the idea!