What are the 3 D's in Dog training? The 3D's are the key to teaching your dog anything new. Whether you're training your dog to stay, leave it, wait, heel on leash, you name it, the triple D's will have an affect on your results. If you plan your dog training sessions with the 3D's in mind, you can train your dog faster, and have longer lasting results
So what are they? the 3D's of dog training are DISTANCE, DISTRACTIONS and DURATION. Distance is the distance between the dog and handler, or distance between the dog and distractions. The further away your dog is from you, the less likely he is to correctly respond to your commands. The closer a distraction is, the less likely he is to correctly respond to your commands. Distractions are anything your dog finds interesting, that could possibly interfere with your dog's ability to focus on you and what you say. The intensity and number of distractions present greatly affect your dog's ability to learn something new, or to respond correctly to your commands. Lastly, we have Duration. Duration is the amount of time required (by you) for your dog to hold a command. How long should he stay, heel, or wait?
At Denver Dog Dynamics, we have 5 criteria that our dog has to meet before we increase the level of the 3D's. The dog must listen to our command and perform it correctly the first time we say it, in a normal tone of voice, in the face of distractions, without being bribed, every time. For example, most dogs are pretty responsive to the command "sit." But does your dog meet the criteria? How about with other commands? Heel? Down? Wait?
Most dogs who haven't been trained using the 3D principles will sit, if they're in your kitchen, with nobody around, if you have a cookie in your hand. I would argue that dog doesn't really know the "Sit" command. So how do we teach him?
First you need the proper training equipment. Our mantra is never give a command that you cannot or will not enforce. Saying "Sit" to your dog, means you need a way to make it happen. Next we need repetitions. Practice makes perfect, and we need lots of practice. As we practice, we systematically increase the difficulties of the 3D's.
We start by making it as easy as possible for the dog to get it right. We need to eliminate or reduce the levels of Distance, Distraction, and Duration as much as possible. By example, we start teaching sit in our living room (not much distraction in the dog's mind), with the dog right in front or next to us (no distance), and we don't require them to hold the sit for very long. Once I can get 10 sits in a row, with zero errors, I can start to increase the levels of the 3D's.
Start with Distraction first. You know your dog best, so it helps to make a list. On a scale of 1 to 10, list the most distracting things or circumstances for your dog. Start with number one on that list. Once your dog can perform a command 10 times in a row without error, move up the list to the next distraction. Continue this process until your dog can perform the command, without error, 10 times.
Don't forget about the other D's! On the list you made, be sure you're not confusing your dog by also making Distance difficult. Save that Distance for last. You can keep a fair, but challenging distance from the distractions until your dog masters the list.
The next D to work on is Duration. Have your dog hold the sit for 1 second in the beginning, before you communicate to your dog he did the right thing. Then, systematically increase the Duration by increments of 5 seconds, until your dog can perform the command 10 times in a row without errors.
Now it's time to add Distance. Follow the same process, by systematically placing your self farther from the dog, or by moving distractions closer.
If you use the 3D's in your dog training plan, you will be amazed at how quickly you can teach your dog what you want. Whether you want to quickly control nuisance behaviors, or you're raising a dog for competition, the 3D's should be a factor in you training plan.