I’d heard this many times, and I understood it – dogs can’t generalize their training from one location to another, hence the reason you must start back at square one when you change locations. Fair enough, I understand. Holy criminey though, Inara REALLY doesn’t generalize.
I’m using the clicker to teach her to go to her mat on command. I shaped the behavior with the clicker until she was going there reliably, then I added the cue, “mat.” So I would then say “mat” as she was getting ready to step onto the mat. When she laid down, I clicked/treated. Awesome, I’m feeling like a genius trainer at this point.
So now I think, “gee, I need to shake things up a bit so I know she really knows it.” Yeah, she didn’t. I stood up and moved about 2 feet away, she followed me. I gave the cue “mat,” and she did everything but. She sat, downed, tried to shake, played dead. Rinse, repeat. I ignored her and finally she went over to the mat – major click and treat. So we do that a few times until I think she has it again.
I moved, she got confused. I stood still but moved the mat, she got confused. Both me and the mat stayed in the living room, but every time I moved or I moved the mat, confusion. I was feeling less and less like a dog training genius by this point. So we ended on a really good note and called it a night.
This clicker training stuff is hard.