THERE IS MORE TO PUBLIC ACCESS TRAINING THAN LITERALLY JUST DOING ALL YOUR NORMAL TRAINING IN A PUBLIC SPACE
There is the regular assumption that public access training is only done in buildings and business premises. We’ll discuss the other safer options available with just as much educational ability.
Public Access Training is actually desensitisation training.
You can easily overload a dog early on, causing it to develop anxiety and reactivity issues. Building your dog’s confidence in him or her self is important.
As an example, handler Elmiri and puppy Po did off and on lead field walks only for the first 2 weeks he was allowed to walk on the ground. This presented plenty of new smells, he was getting car trips with a reward at the end as well as presenting a chance for dog socialising. He was also building up confidence by getting the chance to explore independently with his big brother Eli as a guide and handler Elmiri not far away as his choice for a safety measure.
Public Access Training is best done in short bursts at first and gradually extending the time period. But one of the most important things to bear in mind is that with a puppy/training dog, sessions should be dedicated to training and desensitisation, not where you are running errands or going places and taking your dog with you. The second option is likely to overwhelm your pup and detract from your training. Your focus will not be sufficiently on them and their needs, even if you think it is – it only takes a second to miss that your dog is no longer lying down but is standing behind you making puppy eyes at someone else. Don’t get me wrong, it’s easily done, even when you are further along in your training, but it is essential at the start that training sessions of any sort are short and focused.
You must also be willing to leave a situation with them, especially in businesses and premises that are not dog-friendly, if that is what is required in order for them to not misbehave significantly and/or get overwhelmed. Trust me, it is worth missing that part of your friend’s birthday dinner out or your favourite movie or leaving a shop without what you came for (the one time brain fog doesn’t hinder you!), rather than ending up with a hyped up barking dog with a long-term fear of popcorn or clothes rails, or having to clear up endless dog mess in a mortified state of horror.