The three D’s affect almost all behaviours. Dogs don’t generalize. For example, if you have them in a sit in front of you, they don’t know that sit in front of you is the same as when you’re farther away from them and asking for a sit. When you increase each of the D’s, it becomes more of a challenge for your dog to understand how to perform the behaviour successfully. If you increase all three D’s without having trained and succeeded with your dog in each element individually, the chance of them getting multiple D’s right simultaneously is very low.
When you are working on the three D’s, the duration, the distance, and the distractions, you want to work on them one at a time, starting with just duration first and leaving the distractions for last.
Once your dog is successful at the duration goal you have set, you are ready to move on to distance. When you’re adding the second D – distance – to your training, begin with a shorter duration, and keep all distractions to a minimum.
Once you have distance and duration solid, you can now move on to adding distractions, but keep the first two D’s shorter to begin.
The goal is that you’re going to set your dog up for success in any environment.
Remember, sometimes they may not get it right all the time.
If they’re struggling to perform a behaviour, maybe you’ve moved ahead too fast in expecting them to maintain the position longer than they understand. Maybe the distractions are too high, and you’ve gone from your quiet household to a busy park. Maybe you’ve advanced too fast with the distance, or your body position has changed, and you’ve raised your hands.
Look at your three D’s, the duration that you’re expecting from them, the distance that you’re going, and the distractions that you’re adding. Maybe you need to go back and reinforce one of them and break it down and work on just duration again. Progress at a pace your dog can manage and positively reinforce when they do it right or make the effort. Reward and praise them when they succeed. When you do it consistently, you’ll be surprised at the results that you can get wherever you are.