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In order for a dog to perform trained behavior, you must start by getting the dog to the place where they will perform that behavior.

It starts with transport. Cars, boats, trains, and planes must be part of the dogs regular routine.

They must enter an unfamiliar environment like they have lived there for their entire lives.

It easy to see in a competition dog. If the stress of going to or walking into the trial field or exhibit hall overcomes their desire to perform, all is lost. Only a portion of points are assigned to heeling in many competitions, but if the dog will not heel from exercise to exercise (not scored) the dog cannot complete the tasks.

Many novices focus so hard on the detection task that they forget the preliminaries. Is the dog’s motivation for reward much higher than the stress produced by being in a place with strange noises, strange sounds, unreliable footing, crowds of people and a flood of different odors?

A detection dog that can only perform its task in a comfortable and controlled environment is not much of an asset to law enforcement.

Build a solid foundation by remembering how will you get the dog “there”.