Dog lying on a red blanketWe make heavy use of visual and verbal cues in dog training, but we often see the other cues in the environment as an impediment rather than a help. We complain that our dog won’t sit in an unfamiliar location or come in the face of a competing distraction. These are issues that we have to train to overcome, but we can also build situations that allow us to use outside cues in our favor. One of my personal favorites of this type is the use of a special bed or blanket for relaxation exercises. When consistently used for this purpose, the bed or blanket becomes an independent relaxation cue, reinforcing the cue you are giving.

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