I have posted before about The Levels. I use this program for training all of my dogs, I find them to be a great starting point, a way to know if we are heading in the right direction and staying on target as we go along. Today during our training time we did a little check list of Level 1. I wanted to see how we are doing and what still needs work.
“Come” Yarrow has this one down as far as the first level of training. We are going to try changing it up, maybe some hide-and-seek style games to make sure she really has it but she is looking good for Level 1 “come”.
“Sit” I taught this to stop her from jumping on me constantly. Her sit is solid and we are working on prolonged sit/stay (I do not use “stay” as a command, I expect sit, down, stand, to last until a release is given). Slow progress with that.
“Down” this one is a little iffy. She likes to slap with her paws and will sometimes bounce back up as soon as I click. We are working and it looks better each day. We are also working on progressing the amount of time she stays in the down before I release.
“Zen” her zen or “leave it” is looking pretty good. She still goes for my hand when I first hold out treats but she is onto the idea of the game and looks at me immediately waiting for rewards. She doesn’t go back to trying to maul my hand and I can hold my hand open with the food out so I think we are making progress. I added in the “leave it” cue but obviously it is still a work in progress.
“Touch” is one of her more solid cues. She can “touch” my fingers or a target stick. Hoping to use that for some heel work and distance training (hoping to save my back when I teach tricks like around).
So those are the basics for Level 1. She is looking pretty good on them and probably ready to move to Level 2 where we will continue to work more on those, adding difficulty. I think we will continue work this week before progressing though. Not too bad for 3 weeks of work. She is very eager to please.
We also spent some time working on “mat”, “target”, “wipe your paws”, and a new command “chin” which I thought went really well. We didn’t do much with heeling work today but she looked good the few times we touched on it. I have dropped retrieval and “paws” entirely for now. We will bring them back later when I have these things more solid. I have a retrieval dumbbell on the way.