Focus Fun August Week 1

Training Tip and image ..

first of month – challenge instead of topic

goal is 4 skill topics per week

Page LinksMonthly ChallengeTransitionsLine-UpsZero SecondtitlePDF Files

Monthly Drill Progression

bad habits?

are you creating bad habits?
Do you let your dog play with other dogs? Outside your household?
do you take your dog to training building or field and let them run around? what are you creating? what habits are you establishing?



challenge – watch and note what you are doing in training

letting your dog run around in training area?  does he run around when showing?



Questions? Ask DebbyQ

backing —- slight turn



Your Task for this Week 




Questions? Ask DebbyQ

A Line-Up is the act of moving with your dog from point A to point B and is the start of making a great ring performance.

The Line-Up usually concludes with your dog sitting/standing/downing at your right or left side.  The performance of an exercise, run, or skill typically follows a “Line-Up.”   Examples:  Going into a ring and asking your dog to sit at a start line, or moving from the heeling exercise to a figure 8 exercise.

A fast, focused Line-Up will accomplish a few things.

  • It will enable you to move effortlessly into and around a ring.
  • Will keep your dog focused and relaxed.
  • Makes a great first impression with the judge, after all it looked great!  :>)

What you will need

  • Toys and treats.
  • Leash.
  • A dog eager to train.

Learning a right and or left position cue.

  • Ask your dog to sit and step next to your dog with him on your right or left side.
  • Take a step forward, leaving your dog on a sit.
  • I use a lure ONLY for the first few repetitions.
  • Encourage your dog to come to your right or left side.
  • I use the command “close” for the left side, and “right” for my right side.  Hahaha.  I like simple.  :>)
  • Praise and reward your dog while he is next to you.
  • Once my dog knows how to move up to my side, I add a “sit” once my dog comes up next to me.  The sit becomes a HABIT which is useful for heeling.
  • NOTE: I use my hand closer to my dog to show and position where I want his head.  This is used if needed and is weaned off once the habit is built or if I need to remind my dog later when training.  Karrde liked to lean out to look at me, so I do use this with him and it helps create a HABIT of the position.
  • Once your dog is confident getting to your right or left from behind you, begin having your dog line-up from different angles.

Understanding how to maintain and move in position.

  • Once your dog understand your “close” and “right” command and can readily move up into the correct position, it is time to teach your dog how to maintain the positions as you move.
  • Have your dog on leash, with the leash behind you and held in the hand furthest from your dog.
  • Ask your dog to “close” or “right” as you take a few steps forward with your dog.
  • When you stop, say sit to your dog.  The sit command is given as you are planting the first foot as you stop.
  • Tension on the leash behind you will help your dog maintain position as you move.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Moving your shoulder will make an impact on finishes later if showing in Obedience/Rally.  The movement of your shoulder will affect the “finish” line.  This is what your dog sees as he goes into a finish and is reviewed in my “Fab Fronts & Finishes” class.
  • Not rewarding enough when teaching.  Make getting next to you fun by building a history of rewards every time your dog lines-up.
  • Your dog’s rear ends up butt out.  When first starting to teach line-ups (Part 1) I do not overly concern myself with my dog’s rear position.  When I add a leash (Part 2), tension on the leash will help my dog learn rear end position.  Also, teaching rear end awareness aids in the process.  See my “Kickin Up Turns” class.
  • Your dog loses focus when lining-up on either your right or left side.  Get your dog focus before you attempt to do a Line-Up.  Add in a consequence and play BEFORE you ask your dog to sit.  Make being next to you rewarding and fun.
  • Your dog’s sit are crooked or rear out.  When first starting to teach this skill, keep it fun and build a history of rewards.   Only once the desire is built, work on precision by using a leash OR a barrier next to your dog to ensure his sits are correct.
Always give your dog “brain breaks” when working on precision.  Break with a great game of tug or the KrazyKookie Game.

Video Notes: Karrde is working on Line-Ups in this video.  We are still building his DESIRE to get into the position.  First, I use a treat to lure him next to me and start to build reward history.  Once he has been rewarded a few times, treats are no longer in my hand. 

Then we start having him get into position from different distances, angles, and positions.  While we have done Line-Ups before, he has never done one from a down position, marker 2.21.  What a GREAT training opportunity!  I continue to use my hand as a target, BUT do not move it around.

In the next clip, Karrde is working at more extreme angles. I do encourage and help where needed but I try to keep any “help” to a minimum.  The less I use, the easier to wean off later!  At marker 3.54, Karrde did not give me effort in his attempt to get next to me.  The consequence was a negative marker and a push out of the way.  He understands my communication with him and gives loads more effort.

The last clip is Karrde on leash. Now, he will learn how to move into a Line-Up. We will start to “polish” position, and I will begin to wean off my hand use. Karrde gives me great “Leash On” focus, marker 4.12, which is taught in this class. :>) At marker 6.02, Karrde looks away, and I use a Knee Bump consequence followed with praise as he looks to me. Notice how I am using the leash behind me to correct proper position. Karrde gets loads of verbal feedback, praise, and breaks with a tug game.


Zero Second Drill –the ground is NOT rewarding.

Just love this game.  My floors do not have the “ten second rule’, they have a “zero second rule”.  Hahahaha.  This drill will teach your dog that treats or toys on the floor are not his UNLESS you say the Get It command.  A skill EVERY dog needs.  In addition, it teaches my dog I am much more rewarding.   The GET IT Game is the foundation of this skill.  Please make sure your dog is proficient with the Get It Game BEFORE teaching the Zero Second Drill!

Teaching the FUNdamentals

  • Begin with your dog on leash.
  • Sit on the floor or in a chair and either hold your leash in one hand or place the end under your foot.
  • Your dog is NOT on a stay/sit/down command, rather he is near you in a relaxed position.  In other words, DO NOT command your dog in a position.  This stage is to teach him there is NO value in trying to get the treats off the ground.
  • Let your dog see you place several small treats on the floor.
  • Place the treats very close to you so you can cover the treats with your hand or foot if your dog takes a dive for them.
  • If your dog moves forward and tries to get the treats, COVER the treats with your free hand or foot if sitting in a chair.
  • DO NOT give a command.  I.e., there is no “leave it” command used.  Hahaha.  I usually laugh at the dog as I cover the treat.
  • Only when your dog backs off the treats and does not attempt to get it, will you remove your hand off the treats.
  • As long as your dog stays away from the treats, take one treat from the floor to give your dog.
  • Default behavior often is your dog backing away from the treats.  Some dogs start sitting or downing on their own and making eye contact with you.
  • Praise and reward when your dog chooses wisely.
  • NOTE: during the teaching phase, do not release your dog to any treats on the floor.  We want to build a history of rewards from you and not the floor.
 The key to this exercise is that your hand/foot ONLY covers the treats if or when your dog moves forward to get the treat.  Let your dog learn that he will get the treat only when YOU offer. 

Bump Up the game.  :>)

  • Stand up and drop a few treats on the ground a distance from each other.
  • Once your dog is ignoring the dropped treats, point out one treat and tell him to “get It”.   This gives him permission to eat that ONE treat, but none of the other on the ground.
  • Cover or block your dog from getting any other treats if he attempts to grab more than the one treat you indicated.
  • YES.  Do this game with toys if your dog plays tug.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Saying “leave it”.  This drill teaches your dog that it is his responsibility NOT to shop.  If you say something to your dog, then you are assuming the responsibility.
  • Not rewarding for effort.  If you see your dog trying to decide on what he should do, praise.  If he backs off or looks at you, praise and reward!

Video Notes:  First in the video, Sly and I are training this drill.  Sly did this drill when he was very young, but clearly, we needed a refresher course.  Hahaha.  He loves to offer and tries everything and then starts to realize what he is supposed to do.  Once Sly starts to show he understands criteria, I stand up to increase the level of difficulty.   I drop a treat on the ground and block him from getting a treat if I see him getting ready to dive for one.  At this stage, I will always pick the treats up and not allow him to pick one up off the ground.

Next, Sly and I start to bump up our training.  I am standing and dropping treats on the ground.  When Sly looks at me after dropping treats, I praise and reward.  Again, I will pick up treats and not permit him to take a treat off the ground.  At the end of the session, a number of treats are tossed on the ground and Sly does a great job of resisting them and then refocusing on me!

Karrde is next in the video and is just learning this drill.  When training, one treat is dropped and Karrde is rewarded.  Then I will drop another treat and reward him.  When he is steadily resisting diving for the dropped treat, I give him permission to get one of the treats.  The first attempt, Karrde tries to dive for the second treat dropped and I block him.  After that, he does a great job and is beginning to understand the rules to this drill.

Sly is last in the video and is showing the utmost in resisting dropped treats and getting one off the ground with a given command.  When releasing him for a treat, I am always ready to block him IF he opts to get a dropped treat.  At this level of training, I will sometimes release for a treat and other times pick treats up.

Your Task for this Week 




Questions? Ask DebbyQ

Your Task for this Week 




Questions? Ask DebbyQ

PDF Files useful for this week

Focus Fun A-Z 2023-Training-Log-______ Week-


Questions? Ask DebbyQ