LEVEL SIX (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, Level Four behaviours, and Level Five behaviours before starting Level Six.
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 Six, a dog must pass 8 of the 16 optional 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 does a 20’ official Retrieve over a half height jump. Dogs under 18 months may do this over an appropriate jump, but it must be 30’ long. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: Anytime I use the word “formal” to describe an exercise, I mean it to include the full competition exercise. The formal Retrieve Over High Jump therefore includes a SitStay at least 8′ from the jump, handler throwing the dumbell, sending the dog to take the jump and retrieve the bell back over the jump, Sit in Front, holding the dumbell until it is taken by the handler, and a Finish. Height of the jump must be practiced to ensure the dog understands how to handle it. Other than needing practise, height really has very little to do with this exercise. Can you see that this entire formal exercise, except for height, could be taught to a 6 month old puppy?
In car, handler exits, dog stays WITH NO CUE, dog exits on invitation, maintains loose leash into training area with appropriate cues. DISCUSSION: One more twist. Now we’re asking for default control with the car door open as well as the leash behaviour. This behaviour can save lives.
ON THE ROAD
The dog must pass the Level Four tests in a strange location.
Dog performs three 40’ Retrieves – one metal object, one official dumbell, one article of the handler’s choice. Appropriate cues. DISCUSSION: This covers the retrieve part of the Flat Retrieve, Retrieve Over High Jump, Directed Retrieve, and Scent Discrimination. Obedience trials are pretty much handled!
Dog finds the correct article of eight, three times in a row. Appropriate cues. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: Now she really knows what she’s doing. Start thinking of all the great tricks you can do with scent!
The dog Sits from Down on a hand signal only at 10’. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: Increasing the effective distance on the signal.
Dog performs a full out of sight Sit Stay for two minutes. Appropriate cues. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: Increasing the time is boring for the trainer, but well worth the work you put into it if you’re planning on competing.
Dog Stands from Heeling, the handler does not stop. Two cues are allowed. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: Part of the Utility Stand For Examination exercise, considered to be very difficult to teach. Thank Heaven for clicker training!
The dog performs a full Group Examination for one minute with the handler 20’ away. Appropriate cues. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: The Group Exam isn’t part of obedience competition any more, but it’s a good test of a dog’s skills. Do your StandStay in a line of dogs practicing SitStays or DownStays, and have your tester go over the dog while she’s in line. The examination is more detailed than the earlier one, involving holding the dog’s head, touching the ears and tail, and running hands under the chest and partway down the legs.
Dog pawtouches a wall 20’ away with two cues only. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: More distance is all we need at this Level. Be careful – make sure the dog continues to go out straight in front of you!
Dog performs a lured trick. DISCUSSION: This should be the easiest trick. She learned to follow a touchstick way back in Level 4. What can you get her to do with that? Bow? Spin? Back up? Circle you? Stand on her back legs? Sit Pretty? Scuba’s most popular trick is to show me her front pads. For us, this is “Did you wash your hands?” but it could also be “Stick ’em up!”. This was a result of me luring her slightly too far back on a Sit Pretty, making her lift her paws to balance herself.
Dog holds contact for 30 seconds, one cue only. This behaviour must be performed with no food or clicker in the ring or area. DISCUSSION: Back to a behaviour that should be easy by now, but without food.
Dog stays off five treats on the floor during a Recall. Appropriate cues. DISCUSSION: This isn’t a big step for the dog, since we really didn’t use the leash to teach her Zen. It IS a big step for the trainer, though, who tends to think that the only real control he has over the dog is the leash. Remember, this isn’t about YOUR control, it’s about the dog’s SELF-control! No bellowing allowed!
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