Exercises complete: "That'll do"

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. Later on, you will channel that toward specific jobs, such as running agility.

It’s important for the dog to achieve what he expects to have to do, anticipates doing, and works so hard to do, but sometimes in agility things break down and the dog is left without information about what is happening - this can be highly problematic!!!

Anticipate that your dog is running as fast as they can, following every nuance of your body language and then randomly you stop moving, throw your hands in the air and mentally start kicking yourself while you look to someone outside the ring and ignore them. What in the world is your dog supposed to think about this change in energy, focus, attention. Imagine if your dog did that in the middle of your training session. Only you know that you just sent them off course.

“That'll do” is a command that lets the dog know that the job is done - especially when you have to interrupt the normal sequence of activities expected of your dog. The purpose is to eliminate confusion or stress for your dog when things don’t go the way they expect (remember dogs are information seekers and it is important for them to know as much as possible about what is going to happen next).

Start with simple environmental cues that predict something good and just interrupt the pattern.

-pick up your leash (which predicts a walk) and as your dog gets excited, say “That'll do” and go stall for a minute or two (ex: at the computer), then when they settle down - reward them with a nice game of tug, chase, and eventually the walk they were anticipating.

-put on your special running shoes - and don’t go for a run, but tell them “That'll do” and go do something else instead (give them their dinner).

-go to the car and open the car door - when they expect permission to hop in for a ride, tell them “That'll do” and go play fetch in the back yard.

This skill can also be used for those times when you want your dog to just rest, you are going to watch TV for a while or any time you want to interrupt the "work" that your dog is doing, say when the dogs are starting to play a little too roughly in the house.