Why duration work works!
Duration work, which is essentially a fancy name for your dog doing an exercise like Place or Down for an extended period of time, is kinda like magic. It doesn’t seem like much is going on, or that much benefit could be obtained from it, but just like magic, poof, problem behaviors and state of mind issues begin to fade away though this simple but profound process.
We equate it to dog meditation. I strongly believe it helps reset and re-balance the dog’s nervous system, much like human meditation can for us.
By teaching the dog (or maybe more accurately resetting the dog) to understand that what goes down around him/her is none of their business, and not of their concern, we remove the habit and the burden of constant emotional and physical reaction to the environment.
So many dogs get caught up in the cycle of emotionally and physically reacting to whatever occurs in their environment – a person leaving the room, a knock at the door, a dog barking outside etc – and these triggers can create an emotional response that then becomes habituated stress/anxiety/edginess creating all manner of behavior issues.
By resetting the dog through duration work (multiple hours a day is great!) you fundamentally change the emotional state and many, many problem behaviors simply disappear, or are tremendously reduced. By teaching (and insisting!) that your dog remain quietly in command while the world goes on around him or her, you end up creating a far more relaxed, comfortable, and well-balanced dog.
Just like magic! 🙂