Phase 1: checkpoint

click here for a pdf version of this step.

One way to ensure very solid contact performance is to make sure that your dog wants to perform the behaviors that you want to see. In addition, they must be physically capable of performing the behaviors that you want. This is a good time to perform a checkpoint of your foundation behaviors before you advance to the next phase of training.

The building blocks that are key to performing stopped contact behaviors are below. If you wish to have other criteria included in your contact behavior (nose touch, sit, foot touch) then they would be added to this list. A good resource for helping to build each is also listed.

1. A reward system

2. An understanding of your invitation to play

3. A dog who understands to offer behaviors for the chance to earn rewards

4. A dog who loves hand-in-collar & restraint

5. A history of training & play being indistinguishable

6. games that include self-restraint as a component

7. A basic plan of how to mark behaviors, how to differentially reward them, them, and how to react when mistakes happen.

8. A fast down or drop

9. A down stay

10. A verbal release only from the stay

11. Run really fast - the ability to run as fast as they can go on an a-frame-like board and on a dog walk-like board.

12. Stop really fast - the ability to run as fast as they can go and stop on a dime.


1. Nose touch

2. Foot touch

Foundation Behaviors Review

This video illustrates a dog (and handler) who is confident with the building blocks and is able to progress to phase 2 in 2o2o contact training. See the separate posts on run really fast and stop really fast.

Without these building blocks, Phase 2 behaviors are difficult to train at full impulsion and a high success rate. It is often difficult for the handler to relax and enjoy the training process which can add stress into the picture for both dog and handler. In addition, without these pieces, the handler may need to rely on other training aides that can undermine the dogs desire to perform, their confidence, reliability, accuracy and speed or can mask the dog’s true understanding.