A simple heeling game

Heeling games are things that we do to increase our dog’s drive and enthusiasm for heeling.   Dogs can learn heeling games even if they have no heeling at all; indeed, probably the best time to teach heeling games is roughly when you are teaching precision...

Reinforcement Choices in Heeling

Today I wanted to see what I had with Brito’s heeling. Here’s an unedited video: After you teach the pieces of lovely heeling, You have to string them together. At that point, I use my choice of reinforcement (food or toys) and the positioning of those...

Cue Discrimination

For the new AKC Cue Discrimination Exercise, your goal will be to teach your dog to listen to a specific position cue like sit, down or stand without creeping towards you. How might you accomplish that? First I would suggest separating out the challenges. 1, Listening...

The behavior chain game

Even a relative beginner to dog training can start creating behavior chains and there are some real advantages to doing so early in your training career. Chains are endlessly more interesting to dogs than single behaviors.  As a rule, single behaviors rely on external...

Brito – Way back when!

I wrote the following blog when Brito had been in my home for about two weeks.  It’s always fun to look back, so…here’s Brito when he was about five months of age: Here is an eleven minute training session of Brito from this morning.  You can see a...

Three seconds of work

I frequently talk about the importance of scaling back on duration without compromising criteria when you are training in environments that are challenging for your dog. For example, I have suggested that if your young, distractible, or novice dog is not ready to heel...

Teaching Direction of Travel

In the Utility class of obedience, your dog must be able to follow a direction of travel for both the directed jumping and the directed retrieve exercises. Taking a line of travel as directed by the handler is a basic foundation skill, and can be taught completely...

Heeling, anyone?

Heeling is the foundation of obedience. Fortunately I love heeling, so I’m very motivated to find ways to make it beautiful, accurate and engaging for me and my dog. I also enjoy teaching heeling to other handlers, probably more than any other obedience skill....

Brito Flashback!

Brito has been here about six months now; he’s barely a puppy anymore! While working on some class materials I found a video that I took of Brito the first week that he was here.  I used portions of this video to introduce him to the world but I picked...

Brito – Retrieve over High Jump

Here are some steps that I am taking with Brito to train a retrieve over high jump; maybe this can help you get started too. I have not yet introduced the stay before the send. I also did not bother with the dumbbell hold in front.  If I were ready to add in the...

Brito – straight fronts holding an object

This video shows the steps I’m using with Brito to teach a retrieve with a “front.” I teach the ‘hold’ at the end of my shaped retrieve training rather than at the beginning. I do this mostly because the dogs enjoy it more, progress...

Teaching a “mark” for Utility go-outs

I’ve gloated enough about the book; now back to our regularly scheduled programming! Brito is learning to “mark” which means, “look straight ahead”.  I use this cue for the go-out portion of directed jumping for Utility.  I also used it...

Brito – General training

Here are two videos that I took today; both are unedited. Good stuff happens!  Questionable stuff happens!  And it’s all just fine; I’ve got a happy baby dog who is learning and trying hard to work in public.  But he’s still a baby – just about...

Brito update

Go ahead and admit it; you’ve never seen such a cute little dog in your entire life:). Here we are working on some heeling, fronts, and the very beginnings of sit in heel position.  He is just beginning to hand me the metal scent article; separately he has...

Proofing Scent Discrimination

This blog isn’t about teaching scent discrimination.  There are plenty of ways to teach scent work that are kind and effective; pick one or blend a few and find a plan that works for you.  Here is how I taught Lyra if you want some...

Brito Ring Prep

I took Brito to his weekly ring prep class today.  A miracle happened. For two minutes and fifty three seconds, he stayed in the ring with me and focused on his job.  He did not run off to visit dogs outside of the ring.  He did not  leave work to look for a promising...

Brito: Balancing movement with control

The past few weeks I concentrated on a few things with Brito: Play with toys. That is coming along pretty well. Less good outside but hey, he’s  a baby. Play with me.  That also suffers outside, but still…we’ll get there. Retrieve.  Super!  Good boy...

Brito – Finding Fronts

Brito is learning to “find” fronts – first on his own and then with a dumbbell. He’s wearing a leash to prevent him from running off to pee on the bushes.  He is very fond of peeing on things lately. Note that I no longer click for retrieving...

Brito’s first ring prep

Ring prep class is what I call the process of acclimating a dog to the competition ring.  From my perspective, this can never start too early. Here is a video of Brito’s very first ring preparation training day.  He really doesn’t have to “do”...

Brito – more shaped retrieve and beginning proofing

I have introduced Brito to a few more retrieve concepts. I’m now (gently!) pushing him away before starting the retrieve – this encourages Brito to move in a forward direction after he puts his mouth on the bar.  If you don’t do this step, many dogs...

Brito – taking the dumbbell

I’m working on Brito’s retrieve. Until now, criteria has included interacting with the dumbbell without stepping on it (I extinguished that), any nose or mouth touching, front teeth, front teeth and nibbling, and slightly more than front teeth. Most of the...