Focus Fun August Week 3

There are various ways I see people sabotaging their training in everyday life.
So are YOU sabotaging your training?

Page LinksTopicMonthly Drill ProgressionTransitionsLine-UpsZero SecondPDF Files

dogSabotaging dog training and showing?

We are all familiar with the phrase, “ Don’t work harder. Work smarter.”  Far too often people unwittingly undermine their own training efforts without ever realizing that they are doing it.

There are various ways I see people sabotaging their training in everyday life.

So are YOU sabotaging your training?

  • Are you over using luring?  This will make it harder to show without treat visible.
  • Do you use body cues or movements that are not allowed when showing? Tight leashes? Extra shoulder motion to line a dog up OR get rear end movement?
  • Do you let your dog run and play in a training area? Does the same dog run around or off when showing?
  • Do you let your dog play with other dogs? Is your dog distracted when dogs are running agility or in an obedience/rally ring?
  • Does your dog do auto finishes in the ring? Is he running around you at home?

HaHa.   I could go on and on.  There are many variables that happen in everyday life that can contribute to problems in training and showing.


During the next few days, I would like to list any problems you might have when you are training or showing.  Then, watch and note what your dog is doing in everyday life.  Do you see any instances of what is happening?

Post On the Facebook group. 

Questions? Ask DebbyQ

Redirect/WIN is an easy way to redirect your dog from a distracting situation or if your dog reacts in a negative manner to barking dogs or sounds.   Simply do Redirect/WIN.  This skill can take you a long way.

Challenge for August Week 3

Redirect2Win – adding Medium Distractions

  • Get your dog, a leash, and some yummy treats.
  • With your dog on leash, go to a new medium distracting location.
  • When he is busy sniffing or looking at something interesting, say your “come” command and take a few steps back and away from your dog.
  • Make sure he is distracted!
  • We want your dog to be facing you with his back to the distraction.
  • When your dog comes to you, ask for a sit and feed your dog a number of treats.
  • Release your dog from the sit and begin walking again.
  • Always reinforce this command by praising your dog as they move toward you.  Feed your dog high value treats when they get to you and while they are in a sit.

 COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Giving your dog too much time to respond to a cue.  Don’t wait to see what happens.  Give your dog a command and expect an immediate response.  If your dog doesn’t respond, take his collar and muzzle and back up and have your dog sit.  Praise calmly.
  • Your dog refuses to turn his back to the distraction.   Progress slowly with this skill and only increase difficulty when your dog is confident and successful.  If the area you have chosen turns out to be too difficult, move away 10-20 feet and try again.   Time and persistence pays off!

Video Notes:  This video is when Poe was a youngster.  He is just starting to learn the Redirect2Win drill.  Poe and I stopped and trained at a few places while I was out running errands.  Each session was just a few minutes.  I would rather spend a few minutes at several places rather than all my time in one place.  

Poe picked up on this very well.  Distractions were a bit high for his first attempt, but overall did well.  I would have simplified anytime if I felt what we were doing was too much for him.   While training, I waited until Poe became distracted to practice the Redirect and praised big time while holding his collar.  

We stopped at the vet’s office and got a bit more training in.  This was a great opportunity to show how I address a dog that starts to bark at a stranger.  Redirect and insist he sit in front.  We will definitely continue to work on this.  


PDFRedirect 2 Win – Adding Medium Distractions week 3

Questions? Ask DebbyQ

Moving Backward is a great way to warm up your dog before training or showing.   Backing up also helps to keep your dog’s focus on you, is an easy way to get through the crowds, AND it is fun!

This will teach your dog how to walk backward in front of you, while you walk forward.  Be careful not to go too far, too fast when teaching backing up!  This is a difficult skill for many dogs, so take your time and use a lot of rewards.

Challenge for August Week 3

Backing – Slow slight turn

  • Now that your dog is backing up while in front of you, start asking your dog to back while you slightly turn to the right or left.
  • Turn a small amount, and give your dog praise and REWARD for any effort.
  • I find it helps to apply tension on the leash to the side you are turning toward.
  • Keep your arms and hands at your side.
  • Slowly increase the amount of the turn while you are backing.
  • Reward your dog generously for all effort.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Hands held out and away from the handler’s body.  Hold hands close to your body.  This body posture will transfer easier on the finished skill.  The photo to the right is wrong.   :>0
  • Rushing the training or going to many steps when first teaching your dog.  This skill takes a lot of time and patience to train, take your time and build a history of success and reward.
  • Lack of reward and verbal feedback.  Let your dog KNOW when he is doing well!
  • Handler DUCK walking.  LOL.  The handler’s feet apart and walking one step, then the other around the dog.  Many handlers do this to avoid stepping close to their dog.
  • Not building DESIRE before asking for precision.  The more reward and encouragement the better!

Video Notes: Poe and I are working on his backing while in front of me and we are adding a very slight turn.  Two (2)  leashes are used and if he goes off to one side or the other, I use the opposite side leash to correct the off center.  Occasionally, I reward Poe while he is backing straight instead of slightly turning.  This will prevent him for always going to one or the other side and keep backing in a straight line possible.  


Transitions-Slow Slight Turn week 3

Questions? Ask DebbyQ

LINE-UP GAMES – Once my dog has learned a Line-Up, it’s MY job to keep them fun! 

As a rule, use games at least seventy-five (75) percent of the time when training “Line-Ups”.   This rate of reinforcement will encourage your dog to “stay on his toes,” and “remain focused on you.”  The balance of games you use might change periodically.  How often you use games when training depends on your dog’s attitude, and desire to work or show.

What you will need
• Toys and treats.
• Leash.
• A dog eager to train.

Below is the start of all the FUN games I use when teaching, or polishing my “Line-Ups” with my dogs.  When teaching and training, I randomly release and reward BEFORE my dog actually gets next to me and sits, or I release as we are moving to the position we will practice.  Mix up what you do to keep training interesting.  NOTE: These games can be done as you are moving to the spot where you will begin a skill, or as your dog is getting into a stationary position to sit/down/stand next to you.

Challenge for August Week 3

Reward with a Spit OR Get OR Toy/Treat over your Head

Sit your dog on your right or left side, and quickly do 1 of the following.

  • Spit a treat at him.
  • Drop a toy from under your arm or over your head.
  • Have your dog jump to get a treat or toy from your hand.
  • Mix up which and when you use any of the above.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Advertising rewards or using lures.  Once your dog knows the skill, it is time to wean off any visible toys/treats.  Resist the temptation to grab a lure if your dog does not respond to a cue.
  • Excessive motion or torquing upper body.  Shoulder wiggling or “sexy” shoulders, is when the person uses a lot of should cueing to get their dog into position.  While this is not necessarily a bad thing when lining up for Agility, it is when lining up for Obedience or Rally.  The “finish” in either sport resembles the line-up motion.  In the long run, extra movement of your shoulders will affect your “finish line”.  This is the line your dog sees on finishes and is covered at length in the “Fab Fronts and Finish” class.

Video Notes: Poe and I are starting to work on adding games to our line-ups. This week I am adding the sit and spit or toss down over head. Anytime he goes to the ground for a missed treat, I make sure he RUNS back to me. That is always priority!


Line Ups-Reward Over Your Head Game week 3

Questions? Ask DebbyQ

Just love this game.  My floors do not have the “ten second rule’, they have a “Zero Second Rule”.  Hahaha. This step will start to teach your dog that treats on the floor are not his UNLESS you say the Get It command.

A skill EVERY dog needs.  In addition, it teaches my dog that I am more valuable than what might be on the floor.  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!

Your Task for this August Week 3

Zero Second Drill – Standing up zero seconds week 3

  • Your dog is NOT on a stay/sit/down command, rather he is near you in a relaxed position.
  • This step you will be standing up.
  • Drop a few treats on the ground close to each other and near you.
  • Cover or block your dog if he attempts to get a treat.
  • 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.
  • NOTE: during the teaching phase, do not release your dog to any dropped treats on the floor. We want to build a history of rewards from you and not the floor.

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:  This week Poe is learning Zero Seconds with me dropping treats on the ground and close to my feet.  HaHa.  Poe is such a food hound.   This was really hard for him but good for self-control.  If Poe went for a dropped treat, I put my foot over the treat.   When he made good choices, I would praise and feed him a treat from my hand OR pick up a treat off the floor to hand to him.  He is learning and that is GOOD!


Zero Second-Standing Up week 3

Questions? Ask DebbyQ