Please read the INTRODUCTION before you start working. Be sure your dog has passed the Level One behavioursLevel Two behavioursLevel Three behavioursLevel Four behavioursLevel Five behaviours, and Level Six behaviours before starting Level Seven.

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 Seven a dog must pass 10 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.

COME The dog does a complete formal 20’ Drop On Recall. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: Obedience, agility, herding – there are many times in life and in competition where parts of this chain will be useful.

CRATE Dog enters a crate on one cue only and remains quietly with the door closed for 30 minutes.

DISTANCE Dog performs two directed jumps 10’ apart and 10’ away from the handler. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: This behaviour is actually easier than Level Six, but it puts you, the dog, and the jump in different positions in relationship to each other. One of the things you’re testing here is the dog’s ability to take the correct jump on cue.

DOWN The dog Downs from Stand on signal in line (Stand, Down, Sit, Come). No distance is required. This is an optional behaviour.  DISCUSSION: Now you’re putting learned behaviours into a sequence. This is part of the obedience Signal Exercise in Utility.

DOWNSTAY Dog performs a full out of sight Down Stay for five minutes. Appropriate cues. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: Just one more minute up from Level Six, and time for polishing the behaviour.

FINISH Dog performs 3 out of 4 perfect Finishes from Front, 1 cue only. DISCUSSION: Three out of four perfect Fronts, that’s better than 95% of obedience competition dogs will give. Congratulations! In the conformation variation, the dog is now going to watch you and freestack no matter what’s going on in the ring, and people will be whispering about how “lucky” you are to have a dog that “naturally” looks like that!

FRONT Dog must hit three out of four perfect fronts on one cue each. This is an optional behaviour. DISCUSSION: Here’s the finished product – a perfect Front, and with more precision than the majority of obedience competition dogs have. Congratulations!

GO TO MAT Dog goes to his mat/bed/pause table from 20’ away on one cue and remains there with no fuss for 30 minutes. This behaviour must be performed with no food or clicker in the room or area. DISCUSSION: The same behaviour as we asked for at the previous Level, twice as long. Doing it without rewards in the area means the dog is doing the behaviour as a part of her everyday life rather than as a “trick” which requires an immediate reinforcer.

HANDLING Dog lies down on its side on a grooming table while the handler puts a nail clipper over one of the dog’s toenails. Appropriate cues and minimal fuss allowed. DISCUSSION: This is the professional behaviour you see at dog shows. The dog can lie down herself, or you can put her down on her side. She must then stay in that position while you start to cut her nails. For conformation dogs, this position allows them to be prepared for a show – which sometimes takes hours of grooming – and get up relaxed, refreshed, and ready to work. If you’ve done all your grooming up to now with the dog on the floor, I can only suggest you give this a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to work with a dog at table height! I’ve saved a lot of money, too, on semi-surgical procedures that would only require a local anaesthetic if the dog would lie down and stay still.

HEEL Dog performs a full formal Heel Free exercise, complete with Figure 8, maintaining contact throughout. This is an optional behaviour which must be done with no food or clicker in the room or area.

HOMEWORK Handler defines, in writing, default behaviour and describes how to achieve it, with examples.

JUMP – BROAD The dog performs the full Broad Jump exercise. This is an optional behaviour that must be performed with no food or clicker in the ring or area. DISCUSSION: This is the “real” Broad Jump, complete with SitStay, return to Front, and Finish.

There’s more to Level SEVEN – click HERE for the rest.