Focus Fun August Week 4

When is the best time to train your dog?

 The answer is all the time!

Page LinksTopicMonthly Drill ProgressionTransitionsLine-UpsZero SecondsMonthly ReviewPDF Files


When is the best time to train your dog?   The answer is all the time!

Dog training is done 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whether you know it or not. Bad habits are created during everyday life scenarios. For example, if Spot jumps up on you and then you pet him, you have just reinforced jumping up on people. Same if your dog is bolting out of doors.

Do you just open that back door and your dog races through it?
What have you just taught him?
Think about what you are reinforcing anytime you are interacting with your dog.

What is the best way to train your dog?

Don’t schedule only one training session a day for your dog. Do training constantly, every minute you and your dog are together! So if you are going to give your dog a treat or play, do some training so he might be rewarded. Be creative and use this time to teach some tricks or perfect skills.

Training 24/7 will get your dog into the great habit of being alert and be ready to respond to commands for food, walks, and attention!

Questions? Ask DebbyQ

Redirect/WIN helps to teach your dog to focus on you when there is a distraction.   In addition, this is great 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.

Your Task for this August Week 4

Redirect2Win – Proofing new locations redirect2win

  • Once your dog is responding well, it’s time to start adding more distractions.
  • Your next training sessions should include going to new locations such as parks or retail stores.
  • Save the most distracting locations for last, training buildings and dog shows.
  • Always simplify in new locations by staying further away from the distraction and reviewing criteria of the skill.
  • The GOAL is to be able to Redirect/WIN in any environment and with all distractions.

This is an easy way to redirect your dog from a distracting situation.  Say your dog’s name OR “come” while taking a few steps away from your dog and the distraction.  As soon as your dog turns toward you, reward him with several pieces of “high value” food.  Many times this exercise will defuse an adverse situation.

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: OMG. Poe and I went out to train Redirect2Win and I couldn’t have asked for a better distraction! While we were training, a lady drove by and started talking to me. Commenting about my pretty dogs. How could I resist talking to her as Poe and I were training. What I LOVED was that Poe never broke his attention off of me the entire time the lady was talking to us. Six months ago, Poe would have barked at the stranger. Progress is a wonderful thing to see!


Redirect 2 Win – Proofing week 4

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 4

Backing – Zig Zagbacking zigzag

  • Now that your dog is backing up while in front of you, start asking your dog to back while you turn to the right or left in a ZigZag manner.
  • Reward and praise as your dog turns.
  • Remember 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 so your dog can do a wide zigzag.
  • Reward a lot for any effort from your dog.
  • NOTE: Hanging or showing your dog a treat in your mouth is a great way to keep his head and focus up on you. The visible reward is weaned off as soon as possible.

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 is doing great with going backward with a slight turn, so we are adding in the difficulty of ZigZag in this session. There is a visible treat in my mouth so that Poe will maintain focus up on my face. The goal is to have him turn with my body. He gets goosy on a few repetitions, so I use the leash and my voice to calm him. oe ends up doing a great job.


Transitions- Backing Zig Zag week 4

Questions? Ask DebbyQ

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

Over time, the attitude your dog develops on Line-Ups, will carry over to the skill that follows.  When teaching a “Line-Up”, have your dog in a stand or sit, at your right or left side.  Use treats and toys to surprise and reward your dog!  Break into a game to motivate and compel your dog to pay close attention and be prepared to move.

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 4

Through your legs    line up through

  • Have your dog standing in front of you or on your right or left side.
  • Ask your dog to go through your legs, and up on either your right or left side.
  • Praise and reward with a toy or treat from the hand closest to your dog.
  • Use two (2) different commands.  I use “through” to go to my left, and “side” to go to my right.
  • Reward your dog often BEFORE he sits.
  • Training TIP – give your dog a little goose in his rear if he is pokey going through your legs.


  • Your dog loses focus when lining-up on either your right or left side.  Practice the games, etc. BEFORE you ask your dog to sit. Make being next to you rewarding and fun.
  • When you ask your dog to do an unexpected trick or skill, he looks at you like you are nuts.  Hahaha.  This often happens.  While I am training my dogs and they do not do a command, I quickly push them out of the way a bit, and rib them saying something like “where were you?”  I accompany with loads of laughing and follow with a game of tug or the “KrazyKookie” Game.

Video Notes: Poe is doing throughs on this video. We start the session building desire for the skill. Poe has done these skills several times before and his “desire: is built.  Once I see that desire is built, we can start to add sits. Note that precision is not my main goal, building desire and having fun!


Line Ups-Through Your Legs week 4

Questions? Ask DebbyQ

“Zero Second Rule” is 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 4

Zero Second Drill – Bump Up the game. :>)zero second week 4

  • Your dog is NOT on a stay/sit/down command, rather he is near you in a relaxed position.
  • As you are standing, drop a few treats far apart (1-2′) and one at a time on the ground.
  • Once your dog is ignoring the dropped treats, point out one treat and tell your dog “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.
  • RANDOMLY pick up and give your dog a treat instead of giving a get it to a treat on the ground.
  • 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.
  • YES.  If your dog LOVES toys, you can play this game with toys too.
  • Once your dog rocks at this stage, bump up the difficulty by occasionally releasing your dog to one (1) treat on the floor.  Continue to give your dog treats from your hand and or from 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!
The key to this exercise is that your foot ONLY covers the treats if or when your dog moves forward to get the treat. 

Video Notes: We are bumping up the challenge on Zero Second with Poe. As I am dropping the treats further away from me and each other, Poe has to give effort to stay away from dropped treats. He is restarted when he sits by me tossing a treat and saying his get it command. That is the release to go get something. HaHa. I can see him thinking. If Poe tries to get a dropped treat, I use my foot to protect the treat. Loads more work to s=do with this skill but LOVE Poe’s effort.


Video Notes: First in the video, I have started standing up which increases 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, several 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.


Zero Second-Bump Up week 4 Game

Questions? Ask DebbyQ

Wow, it is that time again for a monthly review!

Monthly Challenge – The Redirect2Win was the drill this month.  It taught your dog how to look at you when under pressure such as another dog barking at you or an event that monthly review makes your dog over stimulated.   This is a great skill to have on all dogs and one to use even in every day life situations.

Transitions  – This month we learned all about your dog Backing up while you walk toward him. HAHA.  I love this skill.  It is useful to warm a dog up but also great for maintained focus as well as to move in a heavily congested area toward a training are or ring.   Keep practicing it!

Wrap up – Slow Hand is a GREAT self control skill and also wonderful for stabilizing all stays in any position.  In addition, it teaches the consequence that movement makes the reward hand fly away.   Add this skill to any sit, down, or stand position.

DIG –  We wrapped up our DIG training this month.   This drill is a wonderful way to make anything your dog finds negative into a positive event.  DIG is a skill you want to train a few repetitions in EVERY monthly reviewtraining session. That way DIG is always ready to help your dog.

Line-Ups – HAHA.  What a busy month we had!  During the month, we started to teach how to Line-Up as well as move at your side into a Line-Up.  Since the Line-Up starts all runs or exercises, it is important to continue to work on and build desire as well as maintain focus with games and fun releases.   Consistent training AND rewarding of Line-Ups will ensure that the first step in the ring is a successful one.

Zero Seconds –  This is a great self-control drill.   It also starts teaching your dog that treats on the floor are not rewarding.   This along with the Get It game, make wonderful foundational skills.  Continue to work and grow Zero Seconds and you will continue to see improvements.

Video Notes: Poe and I went out to train different skills from this month, August. We train DIG toward the van, It is coming along but loads more to do with this skill. We trained Slow Hand, and yes more training to do here too. HaHa.  There is always more to train. We then trained a few Line-Ups, which is coming along great and lastly we did Zero Seconds. Poe is learning more every day he is trained and coming along GREAT!

Questions? Ask DebbyQ