I'm training my dog in competitive obedience and he has always listened very well until recently encountering a female coming into season. It ruined our entire training session. Can you advise any training tips to help with this problem?
I recently started in competitive obedience training with my 5 year old Doberman. He is intact and has never been a problem other than being a very high energy dog. I am very intune with him, watch his every move esp. when we're out and about. He listens very well inhouse and while off leash on our runs through the woods. My problem is that he was doing very well in obedience class until he encountered a female coming in season. His nose was on the mats and being 95 lbs, I could hardly get him to leave the smells. Our whole hour of training went down the drain. In all the articles I read, people are saying its a training situation. Can you advise any training tips to help with this problem?
A good question.
Obviously your dog considers this a high level distraction. If this were our dog we would not try and train entry level male dogs in the presence of a female in season.
The way I used to train around this (back in 1982 when I did AKC work) was to find a friend who had a female in season. I asked them to swab the female with cotton balls and keep these balls in a jar in their freezer. Then when the time came that I felt the dog was ready I would use those cotton balls. You can also add clean balls to the jar and they will pick up odor.
Then lay them out or rub certain spots with them. In the old days (with old school training) we would correct the dog. We now have better ways of working with distractions. We would now work engagement exercises and either high value food rewards or if the dog knows the rules of play we would use high value tug toys in the presence of odor.
That work is covered in the DVDs or streaming videos we did with Michael Ellis:
The Power of Training Dogs with FoodThe Power of Playing Tug with Your DogAdvanced Concepts in Motivation
I also assume you are training with markers. If not you should be. The Ellis DVDs deal with marker training.
Good luck I hope this helps.