Homework Week 4:
1. Continue practicing come with restrained recalls and a long line outside see last week's homework. Do this reading right away and use this progression chart. Once you do the reading come back to this page and move to #2 below. Click here for this week's reading and chart:
2. Continue to practice: Sit-Down-Sit-Stand-Down - Stand by mixing up that sequence. Be sure your dog knows the actual words by mixing it up. Don't reward your dog for doing the wrong behavior. Also be sure you are working on phasing out threats quickly. At this point your dog should be able to do many behaviors for you before the treat reward. But if you have not weaned them of gradually you will have to do that for it to work. Remember to always say "yes" to give a verbal reward. If your dog will not perform for you without treats get him/her there as quickly as possible by using less and less treats. When you reward randomly and lessen the treats as you go, you will get the strongest performance from your dog.
3. On your walks this week (first in your house off-leash and then in your yard and then out on the sidewalk), I would like you to: go through this video training series:
a. Practice loose leash walking—the dog does not go forward when pulling. S/he only goes forward once they have done an auto sit or have slackened the line.
b. Practice getting into heal position and walking in heal. Use a lure a lot at first being sure you say “heal” then luring them into position. As you lure them along healing be sure you repeat slowly and positively “good heal.” Use watch me as you walk to get the treat away from their nose and up to your eyes. When they get out of position, use your body to gently lure them back into the heel. This may require you to walk backwards for a bit luring them or to change directions.
c. Practice going from a loose leash walk, into a heal for a little while and back into the loose leash walking again. If your dog is walking in heal position all the time- awesome for you, but they don’t have to. As long as when you stop they sit automatically and when you ask they come to you and you can get them healing. Be sure to heal at each crosswalk and when you want them close as well as randomly so you can train the behavior.
d. Follow this loose leash walking video series which I have made for you:
4. Practice stay. This is one of the best videos I have found for stay. I will replicate it myself sometime but for now you have a superstar celebrity trainer, Victoria Stillwell to teach you in this video. Here’s the video and a reminder of how to teach “stay” She does it slightly differently than we learn in class. You can add what we learned in class with the first step moving side to side and using YES as your release word. No movement until you say YES.
1. Ask the dog to sit. Standing right in front of the dog put your palm out (the stay command). Many dogs will get up and this point and move around. That means you are asking him to stay already too long. At first, reward him the instant the dog is sitting and looking at you without moving around.
2. Increase duration from a second to a couple of seconds and so forth before you treat.
3. Once the dog is staying for a couple of seconds start to release him each time while you say the release cue word “OK!” Be sure you say it in a happy enthused voice.
4. Once the dog can stay sitting calmly for at least 5 seconds start to move your body slowly from your right foot to the left in front of the dog. If the dog stays put, reward quickly. Seeing your body move lets the dog know that you will be moving around, but you will be asking the dog to remain in the "stay” position while you move. This can get the dog excited and he may move or jump. If this happens put him back into the sit position, show him the hand signal, and ask him to stay and start over. Use baby steps. Expecting too much too soon from a dog who’s never learned stay, will make him less successful. Always make the dog feel successful and the training fun.
5. Do the same by taking one step back. Give your “yes”/click and treat each time and give the release word ”OK.” Sometimes a dog will not respond just to “OK” you will have to use “OK Let’s Go!” and move your body to get them to move out of the stay, to end it.
6. Progress by taking a step or two back each time. If he gets up, put him back and do it again from a closer point.
7. Over the next few weeks try to get to at least 10 feet away. Once you have that work to getting stay as you go in a full circle around the dog, but do not do that all at once- watch the video with Victoria Stillwell and you will see what i mean. That is our goal in this training program. If you would like to help the dog progress beyond that - that is great! Watch the video above or ask the instructor to demonstrate how to do it. If you can teach this dog to stay in a play yard with distractions, you know you have really done a great feat by helping that dog with impulse control, calming down, and getting ready for success with a new owner/ new environment. The trainer in the video above gets the dog to stay as she runs circles around him. That is great! You can do it too! Keep training and trying and you will see big improvements- Guaranteed!!!