LEVEL FIVE (B)
Please read the INTRODUCTION before you start working. Be sure your dog has passed the Level One behaviours, Level Two behaviours, Level Three behaviours, and Level Four behaviours before starting Level Five.
This colour indicates behaviours that are mandatory.
This colour indicates behaviours that must be done without food, clicker or other training aid, in a ring or similar.
This colour indicates behaviours that are optional. In Level Five, a dog must pass 8 of the 11optional behaviours. Pick your optional behaviours with an eye to what sports you’re aiming your dog for, or whatever looks like it would be a fun and interesting behaviour to teach your dog.
JUMP – HIGH
Dog performs a 10’ Retrieve over a 2” jump. Appropriate cues. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: This is a true chain. We’re not looking for a SitStay or Front yet. You may hold the dog while you throw the dumbell, or tell her to Stay. We’re looking for her to go over the jump between the uprights, pick up the dumbell, return with it between the uprights, and give it to you.
Dog maintains a loose leash while walking from the car into the training area with other people. No cues other than the leash. DISCUSSION: Now we’re asking for a completely default Loose Leash – a behaviour that happens for no other reason than that’s the way wearing a leash works. If you’re not working from a car into a training area, pick another appropriate scenario, such as from the sidewalk into an offleash park, from the car into your friend’s house where the dog wants to go. My dogs particularly want to get to the barn, because there’s usually a cat to look at in the barn. This would be a good test, because they want to get there and it’s about 150′ from the house to the barn.
ON THE ROAD The dog must pass the Level Three tests in a strange location.
Dog performs a 20’ Retrieve of three objects including one metal. Appropriate cues. DISCUSSION: Think of many different objects for retrieving. Your dog can put away her dish, she can clean up her toys, she can bring in the newspaper and that can of cat food you dropped on the way in from the car. Get her started early while it’s easy. Can’t think of a metal article? How about a spoon?
Dog finds the correct article of five, three times in a row. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: Nothing new here, we’re polishing and building the number of articles. Slowly, slowly, SO many dogs lose confidence here from being asked for too much too soon!
The dog Sits from Down on a hand signal only. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: The hand signal should be easier than a voice cue, as it incorporates the luring motion.
Dog Sits and stays for 30 seconds with the handler out of sight. Appropriate cues. DISCUSSION: As with the out of sight DownStay, it’s really important to have SOME means of being able to tell whether the dog is actually giving you a SitStay when she can’t see you. Mirrors, helpers, reflections in windows, holes drilled in walls, even remote cameras playing on your TV – use your imagination. I know one handler whose dog invariable lay down the instant she was out of sight, and sat up the instant before she returned.
Dog Stands from Heeling on a hand signal only. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: Part of the Utility Signal exercise, Stand from Heel is an elegant behaviour if done the right way.
The dog does a Stand-Stay for examination. The handler may remain by the dog’s side. Appropriate cues. This behaviour must be performed with no food or clicker in the ring or area. DISCUSSION: Now we take away the distance, ask for a Stand, and put the tester back in the equation. Watch how we’re bouncing around with what is difficult and what isn’t. We’ve divided the StandStay up into so many parts that it will be easy for the dog to tell you exactly where she’s having a problem. When you know exactly where the problem is, it’s easy for you to take it away from the rest of the associated behaviours, fix it, and then put it back.
Dog pawtouches a wall from 10’ away. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: This is a fun and easy way to teach the Utility Go-Back exercise. When you don’t know how to do it, it looks very difficult. In fact, it’s pretty easy to teach, and most dogs really enjoy it.
Dog demonstrates a captured trick. DISCUSSION: All you need for this is imagination and the ability to watch the dog! Stitch occasionally lay down with her front paws slightly crossed. This became Princess Paws. Shaking, yawning, smiling, whispering, these are all captured behaviours. The difference between a behaviour and a trick is what you call it. I teach the dog to lie down on her side, that’s a grooming behaviour. The cue I use is to point my finger at her and say Bang!, suddenly it’s a trick.
Dog holds contact 30 seconds, handler not watching dog, appropriate intermittent cues. DISCUSSION: An interesting twist on the eye contact routine. The dog watches you, you don’t watch the dog. You’ll need a mirror for this, so you can see what she’s doing. Why do you want the dog looking at you when you’re not looking at her? For one thing, that’s heeling, right? You look where you’re going, and the dog looks at you. It’s also a Stay – you walk away from the dog, and she watches you, ready to make eye contact when you turn back to her. And it counters a tendency in many dogs to think that if you’re looking at them, you’re thinking about them, but if you’re not looking at them, all bets are off.
Dog stays off a treat on the floor while walking on a loose leash. Appropriate cues. DISCUSSION: Wow, chewing gum and talking at the same time! Puppies especially may have difficulty understanding that they can think about Zen and walk at the same time, but this brings your Zen well and truly into real life – go for a walk and not have the dog grabbing every disgusting thing she finds!
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