This video is a one-minute compilation pulled from a 15-minute training session.  The entire session looked pretty much like this.

There’s a little bit of verbal processing (see my recent blog) but mostly this session is following obvious body cues to build Dice’s enthusiasm for his foundation skills.  Legs apart?  Go there.  Side to my dog with movement?  Go there.  Send out to an obvious target?  Go there.  If I place an object on the ground?  Go there.  If I’m moving backward looking to my front?  That’s what I want!  Throw an object?  Fetch it.

90% of work can be intuited by your dog by your body cues, without any real need to listen at all.

Listening is important!  But it’s hard.  If I throw an object and then cue a down, my dog will listen harder but the flow will be broken; it’s a trade-off. Flow with foundation skills will proceed in a much smoother and more motivating fashion if it’s fast-paced and fairly obvious what is required at the moment by creating patterns and using them to advantage rather than breaking them.

You need both! Listening to slow your dog down and make them pay close attention and flow/fast-paced work to keep motivation strong and rates of success high.

And always always – keep an eye on your learner.  What does YOUR dog need right now?  If your dog gets too high and careless and has motivation to spare, maybe more listening games. And if your dog tends to flatten easily and gets discouraged with a lot of listening games, then make the body cues and patterns obvious so flow is front and center.

Here you’ll see both but mostly motivation games, based on foundation skills, with relatively little listening required.

How many different foundation skills can you see here?  There are quite a few.

I post almost daily videos of Dice’s progress on Instagram and often Facebook as well.  If you’d like to follow along or ask questions as we learn, feel free to follow me on IG at:  @raikasmom or on FB: Denise Fenzi