After our puppy and beginner classes where you learned the basics, such as sit, down and the beginning of heeling: you move on to more advanced skills – here are a couple that we cover in-depth in our Graduate Advanced Class.
On Your Bed/ Matt – This is a great exercise to teach your dog. It allows you to control your dog while you have people over or are doing things that your dog’s help is really required. You can teach your dog that when the family is eating dinner at the table to wait patiently without begging. The cool thing is you can then take that pad /bed other places – going to a relatives house or camping – this gives the dog a known behaviour in a new place.
For information on how to teach on your bed: check out our step-by-step-go-to-bed pdf.
Cue Discrimination – Can you dog pick out the cues from background language. If you were to say “Banana, Apple, Sit” would your dog correctly respond to the cue word. It this exercise we are improving your dog’s listening skills. If you try this exercise and your dog misses the word it is ok in the beginning to give a second cue (maybe even add a bit of the hand signal).
Cue Fluency: As dog owner’s we think when we give our dog the cue to sit that the actual cue is the word “sit” and that’s it. Our dog’s will likely have a very different perception. To them, the cue to sit might be “We are in the kitchen, my person is standing, looking me in the face, hand near their pocket and then they make a noise that sounds like sit”. If one of those pieces change your dog suddenly forgets how to sit. Well not really, you haven’t helped them isolate the real cue from all the background noise yet.
If you are testing out cue fluency and find your dog struggles with it: Start by only making minor changes in your body position, only change 1 thing at a time – perhaps simply cross your arms or look away. More variation over time will allow your dog to generalize the cue. Remember we want to set your dog up for success better to make smaller changes and reinforce with your marker word and a treat and then build up to more extreme deviations from what your dog expects.
These are only a couple of many advanced topics we cover in our Graduate Advanced class.