We use Relaxation Protocol in dog training. Basically, this means that the dog stays in a sit or down position for a prolonged period of time while the person does a multitude of things. At first, all you do is count while your dog holds a sit or down position. Then you walk around a bit. You can then progress to walking around the room, turning the doorknob, making a loud noise, etc.
This protocol is the basis for AnimalSense’s Focus class. Each class, we review a different level to the protocol. We have the students practice in the classroom and then outside in a more distracting environment. The key is to build up the level of distractions.
When I teach Focus, I tell my students how they can use this protocol in the real world. I tell them they can have their dog stay while their pizza , gets delivered. They can have their dog stay while new people come into the house and release them after the guests have had time to settle in.
I must preface by telling you that I have a king size bed. I have a very tall husband, and he just doesn’t fit on anything else. Needless to say, changing the sheets on the bed is a bit of an undertaking of my very small self. I usually make my husband change the sheets (as it’s his fault we have such a huge bed), but the other day I was feeling a little domestic and decided to change the sheets on my own.
So I walk into the bedroom to begin the process and my dog Eddy jumps on the bed. I tell him to get off, and he does. As soon as I take the comforter off, I turn around and he’s back on the bed again. As I’m stripping the bed, this routine keeps happening. Now I’m starting to get annoyed. I don’t feel domestic very often and it wouldn’t take much for me to just quit in the middle of the process. But then it hit me.
I had Eddy lay down in front of the bed and went to grab some treats. I rewarded him when I returned to him because he had stayed in the down position. Then I asked him to stay and put on the fitted sheet (which requires a lot of movement). I walked back and rewarded him. Then I put on the regular sheet. I returned to him and rewarded him. I did this until I finished making the bed and then I released him. Then, of course, he went right back on the bed, but at least I got the bed made!