You wouldn’t get on a bike for the very first time on the day you start the Tour the France. When it comes to our personal activities, we rarely forget to practice, and often progress in a gradual manner. This is often put aside when we work with our dogs. No matter if you are working on your dog’s recall or reactivity – start small and build it up.
Don’t throw your dog in at the deep end. If you haven’t perfected all the small things in your dog’s everyday life, don’t expect it to do any better with the big stuff. If your dog doesn’t come every time you call it inside the house, don’t expect it to do it outside. If your dog can’t walk on a loose leash and be focused on you when there are no distractions around, don’t expect it to do it when it is around people and other dogs. If your dog gets stressed seeing one calm dog at a distance, don’t expect it to do better with ten barking dogs.
Get a training plan. Start small. Practice, practice, practice. Increase the difficulty level gradually. Then practice some more. Be fair to yourself, be fair to your dog. Make your foundation so solid that it is impossible for you to fail once you tackle the big challenges.