Distractions are stimuli that may entice your dog to break from command. “Proofing” is exposing your dog to distractions. The purpose is to teach your dog– in a controlled setting– that he
must obey your commands despite whatever is happening nearby.
Taking your dog through every step is mandatory. But your dog should already be properly socialized to the environment that you expect him to work in. Always condition at a dog’s real-world level.
During initial exposure to distractions, begin with familiar basics. Using the Down-Stay as an example, start with brief, short-distances, on-leash and not prolonged. Gradually, work
out-of-sight, as your dog progresses.
As conditioning implies higher-stress situations than those to which your dog is accustomed, start with work in which he’s confident. Complicated obedience can be added as you progress
together, but only after your dog has demonstrated that he thoroughly understands the commands in a distraction-free environment, first.
No distraction should appear threatening. And lastly, please recognize that during distraction training, you know what’s coming– as well as what’s expected– but your dog doesn’t.
Use this to your advantage!