Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lessons from "Step Ahead" Level 2 Obedience Class

Tonight, we took Duke to the second class in "Step Ahead" class put on by Who's Walking Who ( in Toronto. This class is designed for dogs who have been through basic obedience and is an advanced obedience course for precision work.

Duke did OK in certain areas but was very distracted early on in class and on the way in. He eventually settled and did some great work!

Three lessons I learned:

1) Put away the lures - We are very dependent on using food in our hands to coax Duke to get into heel position, sit, etc. and we will never progress unless we start phasing out food as a Lure and only as a reward. The quote the instructor, "Anyone can do this (dangle food around) and get their dog to do anything!".

2) Grab his collar and push his bum down - If Duke refuses to sit, or sits and then stands up without permission, its ok to hold his collar and put him down and make him sit.

3) Dog Hand Signals (as per Whos Walking Who)

Sit - sweep right hand in a scooping motion up

Down - palm facing outward, hand up (the "I come in peace" sign)

Come - Start with right arm fully extended out right, fold arm/bring hand to chest

Stay - Put dog in Heel position, use Left hand, palm facing dog's face.

The agenda for tonight's class covered:

1) Recap of Heel/sit position
2) Heel/sit/stay, and walk around your dog
3) Heel/sit/stand/stay, and walk around your dog
4) More heelwork
5) Heel/sit/come/finish, repeat
6) Dog pushups (sit/down, sit/down, sit/down)
7) All above using only hand motions (the idea would be you are on the phone and can only use your hand to command your dog)

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