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Level 3

Working with the Ultimate Companion


L3-GO! - Game On!

Level 3 Games and Cues


Game of Life - Game On!


Games are a Lifestyle!

Dog-ownership is a lifestyle. The more you deposit into the relationship bank account, the more value for the team. Your games are a huge part of your life with your dog.

L3-Game On!

Game On!


Chaining Games


Toy Switching Details

Confidence, Focus, Arousal Up, Disengaement, Engagement, Impulse Control, Thinking in Arousal, Flexibility, Reliability (Relationship)

Orientation Real-Life

Confidence, Optimism, Disnengagement, Engagement, Focus, Impulse Control, thinking in Aroual (Recall, Waking With Manners, Relationship)


The Game of Life - Game On!


Guess what? YOU MADE IT!!!!! You have reached the conclusion of the Level 3 Training Package. You have all the tools, cues, and games you need to build a wonderful life with the ultimate companion! From here, you can go on to more training with canine sports, or you can enjoy life with an amazing companion at your side.


Having a dog is a lifestyle. And your life tip is... Games!

Training never truly ends. It is for the life of your dog. But training, as you have seen through this entire program, is not boring or sterile. It is games and play. It is bonding and interacting, having fun and chilling out together.

Structured play is imperative. Outside time in the backyard should not be a free for all, letting the dog out to do whatever he wants. Outside time to just "run it out" risks over-arousal and bad habits forming from free play. It also sets the stage - you are not importnat or needed outside. Aussies are a smart and energetic breed, which in some ways is great, but it also makes the breed run the gamut for behavior problems if the energy and the will are not guided properly. That is why structured games are so crucial to developing an Aussie that has good manners and listens to you. Mix your structured games with play and free time. Work for you first, then Premack to free choice, thenback to engaging with you. Make time with you fun and use your training games!!!


  • Calmness First (before everything - make calmness the means for your dog getting what he wants)
  • Work (listening to you and following your rules - Cues/Games/Good Default Behavior)
  • FUN! (includes walks, play, structured games, the arousal up/down concept, training, free choice, fetch/tug/etc. Use Premack as gateway to the fun)
  • Transition (structured games that help bring arousal levels back down)
  • Calmness (default and turn off until it is time to go again)

Play and games is all about getting the most out of the time you spend with your beautiful dog. Games within play accomplish proficiency in vital concepts...

  • Thinking in arousal
  • Confidence/Optimism to handle whatever life offers
  • Loose Leash Walking and Recall because there is value in being close to you (proximity) and checking in with you (orientation)
  • Focus (attention span, staying on task) and Impulse Control (holding back and turning focus on you when faced with something highly desireable)
  • Reliability (proofed in a number of environments and situations)
  • And yes, even Calmness (the off switch and emotional management)
  • Your value!!! This builds and boosts your relationship so that you are also associated with fun. This will help your dog listen to you better.


Common Problem: "My dog listens to me when we are in the house, but not so much when we are outside. He pretty much ignores me and wanders off."

Reason: Outside time is for the dog, not the team. The dog is used to being let out and doing his own thing and his human is not in his mental picture. The dog has not learned to stay focused, keep you in his mental picture, that the team is most important, or think in higher arousal.

Solution: Be in the picture. Be a part of outside time - be the center of the fun during outside time. Games and play with you come first before free time is permitted. Teach your dog that it is fun to listen to you and play with you and spend his energy for "the team." You need to be a team inside and outside. You need to play your training games outside, practice cues in games and play when outside, and Premack your dog to free choice.After a short time of free choice, your dog needs to re-engage with you. And in doing this, you will increase the value of listening to you and wanting to be with you.


This video shows you how to chain structured games together during a fun play session and to incorporate them into fun outside time, and then you can use fetch or free play as a reward. This helps build your value, contribute to the team, and develop a great relationship in both work and play. What you see is a typical outside play time with a single dog. The focus is the team!

For a multiple-dog outside play session, start with a group warm-up. Choose a game you can easily do with all the dogs to keep the focus on you. Then Premack the dogs to some free group play. After a short amount of time, bring the dogs back to you (Attention Cue, Pup Pup Recall or any other recall cue). Then play more games with them, and Premack to free play. When your dogs are used to bouncing back and forth from you to free play, you can begin the Pick Me game and engage with each dog as the choose you!

Certain games are great "warm-up games" to help with focus, confidence, calmness, etc. - whatever you need for your dog for that particular activity and training you intend to do. See your handout "Starting a Session Right." Think about what you want to work on - find the games that teach those concepts and come up witha plan.

Keep in mind while you are training/playing to continue working through arousal levels, so that you can teach your dog how to still listen and think in arousal, something many dogs don't know how to do. Keep your dog in the front (thinking part) brain, rather than shifting to hind (reactive/instinct part) brain. Zoomies is hind-brain behavior! This is the root of the concept of the Arousal Up/Arousal Down game. Certain games will bring the arousal levels up in your dog. Other games will bring the arousal levels down. Chain games together that fluctuate with arousal levels so your dog gets good at going up and down and staying in control. Make adjustments as needed for your dog. Observing your dog and how he does later in the day can be a good indicator to include more or less time playing before a calm break, if you can include more up games or up time or not, if down games need more pratice, or if more transition time is needed, etc.

This video gives you ideason how to incorporate the concept of Premack in normal everyday activities with your dog. The WORK ---> PLAY principle to not only boost your relationship but to boost your dog's value in doing what you ask when you ask it. It also keeps the game behaviors keen so they are easily defaulted to in many situations - and situations where you will want it and need it. 

To get real-life results, adopt the conceptual games as a lifestyle. So get out there!! You have a TON of games that you can play with your dog and teach all the concepts and desired behavior for a well-mannered dog and ultimate companion. The "pawsibilities" are endless! One thing is for sure, you and your dog will have fun. Turn training into play and love life with your dog!



There is a lot to remember with training a dog. So, to make things a little clearer and easier for you, I have made a checklist for you. They are some details that can make a big difference in your techniques with training. These key points will help you to maximize your training with your pup - what you have accomplished so far, and what you will accomplish in the future.

And remember all your games and which concepts they address. Here are the concepts to concentrate on:

  1. Calmness
  2. Confidence
  3. Optimism
  4. Focus
  5. Arousal up, Up/Down, Down
  6. Disnegagement
  7. Engagement
  8. Proximity
  9. Impulse control (self control)
  10. Independence
  11. Flexibility
  12. Thinking in Arousal
  13. Grit
  14. Reliability

At the end of Level 3 you will have numerous games and ones with different variations, so I have put together a handouts that categorizes them all and the concepts they address.

Now it is time to take what you and your pup have learned and put it to use for life: at home, during play and walks, on the road and out & about, real-life situations, and practicing for reliability for any situation. Impulse control, focus and reliability are an ongoing project. And the games you now have will take you in the right direction to build those concepts in your dog.


Chaining Games


You have a TON of games now that you can play with your dog and teach all the concepts and desired behavior for a well-mannered dog. I have included a list of those games and the concepts they teach. Pick a few to use in a play session.

Think about the concepts your dog needs to work on. Is it better focus? Perhaps stillness and calm. Maybe better impulse control. Choose your games that address what your dog needs to strengthen and create a play session that has purpose. Chain the games together - many transitionvery smoothly together in an exciting structured play session. Mix others in with your dog's favorite play - like ball, tug, and Frisbee. Add on to your games and get creative - make up some versions of your own. The "pawsibilities" are endless! One thing is for sure, while you are playing, you are training. You are depositing into your relastionship bank account. You and your dog will have fun and your dog will continue to build critical skills. That is super-charging your training and your play with your dog!


  1. Calmness
  2. Confidence
  3. Optimism
  4. Focus
  5. Arousal Up, Up/Down, Down
  6. Disnegagement
  7. Engagement
  8. Proximity
  9. Impulse control (self control)
  10. Independence
  11. Flexibility
  12. Thinking in Arousal
  13. Grit
  14. Reliability

This video gives you ideas on how to incorporate the concept of beginning with calmness, and Premack in everyday activities with your dog. The WORK —> PLAY principle not only boosts your relationship with your dog, but boosts your dog's value in the behaviors you want. That also keeps the conceptual behaviors keen so they are on default in many situations - and for situations where you will want it and need it.


Toy Switching Details


Little details and reminders to maximize your training, play and your dog's skills with toy switching.

Every dog is different. Some are strong pullers with the game. Others, the moment any tension is placed on the toy they let go. Both types of dogs can have fun with switching. Some dogs can get worked up quick, so keep tugging short or don't tug at all. Adjust the game so that it is enjoyable for your dog. Remember - winning is fun, so that should be part of the game - let your dog win. The Fetch FUNdamentals Back Away game teaches your dog to bring the toy back to you for more after a win.



Now all if the little details you have practiced with your toy switching games all come together so that your dog can play a fun game of tug and practice manners. Tug must have rules. These rules allow you the ability to reinforce a number of important concepts:

  • Impulse-Control - waiting for permission to grab the toy.
  • Thinking in arousal - this is tough for dogs and they have to practice it in order to be good at it and default to "dog." This is cue control!
  • Focus (Manners) - your doglearns how to play nice and under control. You can get control of your dog at any time.
  • Bite-Inhibition - being careful with the mouth while playing and targeting the toy.
  • Relationship - playing games like this super-charge your relationship with your dog.
  • Confidence
  • Value - value in you, and value in cues because they lead to wonderful and fun doggie games.


  1. Dog should be in a calmerstate to begin.This could be from a boundary, from a nap, or from a calming game.
  2. Cue a behavior. This should be a sit or a down. You can also cue a behavior chain that ends in one of these behaviors. Utilize some duration variation with the sit or down behavior to build impulse control, patience, focus. Many short, some longer, and a few super quick.
  3. Cue dog to take toy - you give your dog permission to grab the toy (Premack Principle). My Premack cue for toys is always "Get it."
  4. Play a little tug session. Adjust for your dog. Some dogs love tugging, others don't. Some can tug for a while and stay in the right head space. Others, the tugging needs to be super short (10 seconds or less) or arousal begins to get too high.
  5. You utilize a disengage behavior - stop tugging and hold still, or let go. Or you cue a drop. Or your could hold out another toy.
  6. For Drop - When your dog drops the toy, cue a behavior and begin again.
  7. For Letting Go - your dog wins and can enjoy the triumph! Then back away and invite your dog to re-egage with you for more play.
  8. For New Toy - your dogshould continue to tug the original toy until you cue "Get it" for the new one. If they let go early, try to get the new toy behind your back and out of reach. Then start at the beginning with the new toy. This is a test of focus and impulse control!

One other little detail to note is pressure. Pulling your dog close, facing your dog head on with tugging, and touching your dog while tugging all adds pressure to the game. Use with care. Some dogs can handle that, while others not as much. Less pressure is a long toy and distance, you stading sideways while tugging.

And finally - be careful with bite-inhibition warnings. It is importnat for your dog to be careful and use good bite-inhibition. You also need to continue working on it. But, too much "Ouch" can suck the momentum and fun out of the game. set yourselves up for as much success as possible so your dog gets the toy and not you. Use a good sized toy that is easy for your dog to grab.


  • Play at home inside
  • Play in your back yard and front yard
  • Play on a walk
  • Play at a park

Play anywhere! This game can be a great alternative behavior for distractions. Because it is higher energy, it could be very useful for helping your dog stay focused on you and ignore a more exciting distraction in the envirnment. Remember - with distractions, you have to be better. Calm and quiet doen't always work. Food might not be enough either. Flexibility with your games and with your rewards gives you a big repertoire of options to utilize.

Orientation Real-Life


Every interaction with your dog is an opportunity. A chance to strengthen concepts and behaviors you want. A moment in time to deposit into that relationship bank account and bond. Take advantage of every occasion and play with purpose. Your games are your playtime with your dog. It all matters, whether you are home, inside or outside, or when you are out and about.

This is a reminder that when out and about, orientation is your number one game for your dog. It is the number one behavior for dealing with distractions.

So every time you are outside, play an orientation game. You have anumber of fun ones to choose from. And when out on walks, suddenly stop. Teach your dog to keep you in the picture because you are simply too inpredictable to ignore. Getting ahead of you because you stop means your dog does an orientation behavior.

Play your orientation games out on your walk. Play in the contexts in which it matters. Get your dog really good at it. That will set you up for better success when you have to work through a distraction. This is your path to real-life success.

Practice a Distraction - Take Action approach and be proactive not reactive.

  • Distraction: Dog notices something in environment
  • Take Action: Place treat in front of dog in direction of distraction. Then back away and make attention sounds if needed.
  • Mark and Reward: When your dog orients back to you, mark and reward well!