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Teaching the New Obedience Dog: Prerequisite Skills
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To date, I have sent you four messages outlining the skills I teach new obedience dogs. The following chart lists the skills I’ve discussed in these messages.



The four skills listed in red are specifically taught in the following order so that your dog learns to pay attention while heeling. The skills listed in red shows the “critical path,” that is, the order that you teach them.
  1. Come on a long line introduces your dog to the idea that a tug on the leash means “give me your attention.”

  2. If your dog is dragging a long line and fails to come, picking up the long line and giving it a tug consistently reminds your dog that a tug means “give me your attention.”

  3. Next, your dog must learn to sit and pay attention in front of you. A tug on the leash continues to mean pay attention.

  4. Finally, your dog learns that a tug means pay attention while sitting in heel position.
Does your dog understand that a “tug means pay attention” in the context of skills 1-4? If so, this week I want you to walk slowly with your dog in heel position. Praise your dog for looking at you. If he looks away, give a tug on the leash to get his attention.

Watch Thad and Nick practice heeling slowly while paying attention.

The skills listed in green are prerequisites for calling your dog over jumps. Specifically, if your dog understands Sit, Stay and Come off a platform, and will come to you with nothing more than a string on his collar, you can do a recall over a jump.

When your dog understands how to do a recall over a jump, you can start teaching him Directed Jumping!

Watch Thad and Nick learning the Directed Jumping exercise.

Are you getting fired up? Heeling, Jumping, how about a more formal introduction to taking and holding the dumbbell?

Watch Thad and Nick practicing with their dumbbells.

In my next message, I will discuss training sessions including what to do and how long training sessions should last.

If you’re having trouble with the skills introduced in this series about training a new obedience dog, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Connie