I mention on the criteria page that I like to initially teach a down in the 2o2o position. I find that it eliminates many of the points of contention between dog and handler (such as disagreement about orientation of the body, weight shift, futzy front feet etc.). I typically fade the requirement for a down later in my dog’s competition career - however on occasion, I will wait to release my dog until she offers the down in th...

A moving down (drop) is simply a self control exercise that can help manipulate the dog’s mindset. 

It can be a safety tool, and can help teach your dog how to manage their energy, controlling their momentum and body, and is often the foundation for the table/automatic down behavior.

Teaching your dog to crawl is another body awareness and mental management tool.

The foundation skill for this is teaching the dog to fold or collap...

Hardly anything causes agility handlers more angst than not being able to get their dog to go potty before training or a competition run.  It will be very handy to be able to direct your pup to “go potty” or at least encourage them to do so at convenient times and places. 

To teach this, capture the moment and associate the word with the action. There are characteristic times and situations when you know you dog will have...

I always tell people that sit and down don’t even make it onto my list of foundation behaviors - but I’m lying - when you’ve got the rest of this stuff on the list under control, it is helpful to teach your puppy to sit and lie down :) 

These videos focus on teaching the down which often is more challenging than the sit.

You can play similar games to make a nice fast sit something your dog is happy to do as well.

Notice that at f...

This is just another application of a targeting behavior where all 4 feet end up in the car or a crate. A handy application of things you have already taught.

Being able to send your dog to the car to “load up” is just another targeting behavior. You may want this behavior to be specific to loading into their crate in the car, or just loading into the car in general (or both) and you simply can train what you prefer.

Be sure to...

This is just a game that teaches your dog to value accuracy and finesse at high energy with a little self control to boot.  On an agility field sometimes it is hard for a dog to bring a toy back to you, It is a prize. Victory laps are common as are dogs who drop the toy just out of reach. This is a foundation skill to make that a little easier to work through.

If your dog knows fetch, then this is simply a fetch where they rele...

All of the foundation training is geared toward building a keen and willing partner who enjoys the chance to engage with you and the tasks that you give him.

You’ll notice a heavy emphasis on building both the drive and the self-restraint, the physical skills and the mental skills, the desire to play and the desire to work.

One of the by-products of this way of training is that your dog really, really, really wants a job to do....

An Enthusiastic “get it” works the same as sending your dog to a stationary target by using the toy as the target itself.

If you do not have a “get it” command you may find that your dog is so distracted by a toy that you opt not to use it, which would be a shame. Instead, teach the “get it” command so your dog knows when they are allowed to grab or leave you to pick up their toy.

It is important to your dog to be able to tell w...

Tug can be such a common behavior (between dogs and people, and between dogs themselves) that we sometimes take for granted that all dogs love to tug.

In fact, many dogs will happily tug away in mindless games, but many don’t- and even more don’t understand how to work for a chance to play tug.

In addition, some dogs (especially keen ones) don’t necessarily value precision in their tugging. Most dogs instinctively try to grab as...

 Fetch is such a good game (once you build the basic version) that you can use it to teach a huge variety of skills. Here are some example of the dozens of games of fetch that I play both with my own dogs to build agility skills but also dogs in other activities such as search and rescue where these skills are of paramount importance.

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