Focus Fun July Week 4

When sequencing an exercise,

I will NEVER move from one skill to another

IF the first skill did not meet my criteria.

Page LinksTopicMonthly Drill ProgressionSlow HandTransition GamesDIGPDF Files

Training Tip

When sequencing an exercise, I will NEVER move from one skill to another IF the first skill did not meet my criteria.

For example, if I am heeling and the right turn did not meet my criteria, I will stop my training and not continue to heel. We will review and work on criteria and perfecting the right turn separately before adding it back into my heeling.

Same if we are working on agility contacts, 2o2o behavior. If my dog does not perform the criteria for the contact, I will not let my dog continue to the next obstacle, rather we will stop and perfect my dog’s contact behavior before continuing to train other obstacles or skills.

Continuing in training a sequence IF your dog does not meet your criteria is in essence, telling your dog he is correct and that you will except less!

 Questions? Ask DebbyQ

This Month’s Challenge is ALL about staying OUT of the Exercise BOX!

This week we will look at our training making sure we “stay out” of the training box.  The best way to keep your dog focused, is keeping training fun and different.

When making a training plan, think of and list all the individual skills your dog needs to complete a particular exercise.

For example the recall.  Individual skills would include the sit, staying and remaining focused as you walk away, staying and remaining focused as you turn around and stand there, waiting in an active state until called, coming immediately when called, the front, and finally the finish.  Each of the listed skills needs to be taught, perfected, and proofed individually before combining with other skills. Once two skills are perfected, they can be combined.    Only combine two skills at a time!

Your Challenge this Week

  • Pick one (1) exercise or sequence.
  • List all skills needed for the exercise or sequence you have chosen.
  • Note on that list which skills have been taught and perfected and proofed.
  • Take 2 of the perfected/proofed skills to sequence.
  • Add to your plan what games you will do on each repetition.
  • The games you add will help you stay out of the BOX.
  • Often when training, I will add a trick into the sequence such as a spin or twirl.  I find this a great way to test my dog and make sure he is “thinking” and not getting trapped into a box.
  • Go out and train and video to post.

Post questions, comments, and video. 

Questions? Ask DebbyQ

This week we start the Slow Hands from a Standing position.  This will help teach a solid position that will carry over to start-line stays or any stand in Obedience or Rally.   

Your Task for July Week 4

Slow Hand – Stand Different Angles slow hand july week3 riker

  • Grab your dog and ask him to STAND and move a few feet in front of your dog.
  • Start to slowly deliver a treat from in front of your dog.   Reminder to review BEFORE progressing.
  • Next, have your dog on a stand and leave 4-6 feet from your dog.
  • Choose an angle and slowly walk toward as you move your treat hand to your dog.
  • Give verbal feedback to tell him if he is right or wrong.
  • Release your dog from the stand position after delivering a treat, and play or engage with your dog.  This is his time for a mental break.
  • Repeat the sequence leaving your dog and delivering a treat from a different angle.
  • The sequence is – Stand your dog, leave 4-6 feet and then slowly deliver a treat from a various angle.
  • Occasionally release with a Jump to Hand to keep your dog in an “active” state.

Remember this is where your dog learns that movement makes the treat go away!

Video Notes: Riker is making a guest appearance in this video.   He is just learning the “stand”.   We are able to add a few slow hand rewards during our session.  Riker does great standing still for each slow hand.  This is a great way to build duration in the stationary position.  Good work Riker!


Slow Hand – Stand Different Angles

Questions? Ask DebbyQ

The THUMB TOUCH (TT) can be used when you want your dog to focus on you.   Build desire in the TT and it will be a useful tool in training and showing.  This week is about Proofing.

Your Task for July Week 4

TT – Proofing

Once your dog will touch your thumb/hand while standing or in motion then start adding new easy distractions to test your dog’s knowledge of the skill.

    • Test your dog’s knowledge on your right and left side when standing still as well as in motion.
    • Practice at different paces, i.e., slow, normal or a jog.
    • Walk your dog up to 2 chairs and do a Thumb Touch on the approach.
    • Stand or walk next to a person or a dog asking for a Thumb Touch.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Your dog seems confused when you are training this game.  Make sure you are presenting your signal hand, that is have your hand behind your back or at your side BEFORE presenting the cue.
  • Your dog will not touch as you are moving. Keep your motion very slow to start and build on success and reward history.   Keep your hand lower to start training only raising it when your dog is confident.
  • Your dog will not try to touch your thumb if there is no treat in your hand.  Take your time weaning off and varying when a treat is in your hand.  Make sure your hand is low enough for your dog to easily reach.
  • There is no effort while you are proofing and making the game more challenging.  Anytime you proof, always start easy with the distractions further from your dog.  Move the distractions a tad closer only after your dog has shown confidence.

VIDEO NOTES:  This session was all about proofing the TT.  I placed a bowl with treats in the chair that was set up.  HaHa.  Poe fell for it the first time and thought he was going to get the bowl of treats. The consequence was me poking him and laughing.  Fooled you POE!  After though, he did a great job.  So the consequence for him and his level of training was appropriate.  I.e. it filled the bill and he learned to try harder. 


Transitions-Thumb Touch Proofing

Questions? Ask DebbyQ

DIG – Moving and rewarding between entry or between barriers.  

It is time to get to work.  Set up or use an entrance such as baby gates, a gate going into your yard, a doorway, or a sidewalk between hedges.  Anything that will simulate an entrance.  Getting into the ring with focus is your first step to success in the ring.

  • Start to walk/heel slowly towards the simulated ring opening.
  • Release and reward your dog as you get between the opening.
  • Keep your rewards hidden until you break into a fun game.
  • Repeat until your dog is confident.
  • The GOAL is to reward your dog as many times as possible BETWEEN the opening.
  • While training, mix up rewarding how you reward and randomly reward on the approach to the opening.
  • This is a crucial part of your showing later.  Spend loads of time and don’t be in a rush to go “through” the opening.  It is your dog’s focus and attitude you are seeking.


COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Your dog constantly drops his head as you are approaching or going through an entrance.  Work on upward releases BEFORE you get to the opening you are walking towards.  Make it fun to approach and rewarding to look at you when you are approaching something.
  • Your dog looks worried or concerned about going through an opening.  Use your Heeling Games to reward your dog BEFORE or AS you go through the opening.  Also, use many different types of openings so that your dog will generalize the behavior.
  • Your dog seems to HATE being in the ring!  He seems to shut down and cannot wait to leave.  The solution is to make the ring a great place to be.  Often, when I get a new puppy/dog, I take them to a Show N Go or Match.  We go into the ring and only play.  We play going into the ring as well playing games, etc. once in the ring.  What could be more fun for my dog?  The “environment” becomes so rewarding to them that my dogs LOVE to be in the ring.  :>)   If your dog does not play with toys, play the KrazyKookie Game in the ring instead.

Video Notes: Poe and I are bumping up our DIG work. I placed out 2 objects to reward between. This simulates a ring entry. Then Poe and I reviewed rewarding on the approach to the entry. He looked once so I had 2 options, either continue to reward before opening OR separate objects a bit more. I choose the second option, knowing when I move the objects closer I will need to continue to reward the approach a few more sessions before proceeding to between. Poe did really well with this session. Very pleased with his progress.


DIG – Moving and Rewarding Between Entries and Barriers

Questions? Ask DebbyQ