ABRA Formula

Let's discuss the ABRA formula. An easy way to remember this is to think ABRAcadabra.

If you follow this formula you will be able to teach your dog how to master any behavior in any place. Many owners do not realize that dogs cannot generalize. That is why we have to train them in all locations. If you only train your dog indoors then the dog will only listen inside. You may notice you will have to repeat a command more than usual or the dog may not even listen at all. This is also why I tell families to always practice a few commands everywhere they go. Please keep in mind this can take several weeks or months depending on how often you train and take your dog out.


What does ABRA stand for?

A- attention B- behavior R- reward A- all places


Attention- Earn it, don't demand it! Sit on the ground with your dog holding his leash. Do not influence him in any way. Wait for him to look into your direction and reward. Be patient.


Behavior- Command, manners, and other desired traits we want in our dog. Example: the desired behavior we want is for the dog to look at us. The result is the dog gets rewarded. We want the dog to be engaged with us. When the dog looks at us, react by giving the dog several treats. Don't be stingy. The reward reinforces the behavior and the chances of it occurring again is high. *You should always gain your dog's attention BEFORE training.*


Reward- find what motivates your dog. Dog treats, kibble, toys, praise, people food, literally anything! Every dog has a different motivator. (Refer to "Be Prepared blog)


All Places- You should spend at least 5-10 minutes training your dog in all locations, especially new locations. Start with the easy commands the dog has mastered. Be realistic and don't expect the dog to be perfect. There are new smells, sounds, and other distractions. Make the session fun, exciting, and end on a good note. The more you practice the more you strengthen your dog's training.



Boarding student June working on her down command outside

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