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Level 3

Working with the Ultimate Companion

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L3-NRG - Energy: Physical and Mental

Level 3 Games and Cues

L3-NRG - TOPICS

Energy Truths

Arousal Up/Down

(Level 2)

Calmness First, Calmness Last

Start all training/play session with calmness first, either from rest/nap (calmness triad), or because you start a calm game first, like boundaries. This is your warm-up. End all sessions with a cool down, transitioning back down into calmness with a calming game or two (boundaries, reward nothing) and then into the Calmness Triad.

L3-NRG - CUES

Stand

Focus

Spin

Confidence, Focus, Arousal Up, Engagement, Proximity, Thinking in Arousal, Flexibility


Leg Weaves

Confidence, Focus, Arousal Up, Engagement, Proximity


L3-NRG - PHYSICAL

FUNder

Confidence, Focus, Arousal Up, Disengagement, Engagement, Proximity, Impulse Control, Thinking in Arousal, Flexibility, Independence, Grit (Recall, Relationship)

Middle Tunnel Tag

Confidence, Optimism, Focus, Arousal Up/Down, Disengagement, Engagement, Proximity, Impulse Control, Thinking in Arousal, Flexibility, Independence (Recall, Relationship)  

Middle Mania

Confidence, Optimism, Focus, Arousal Up/Down, Engagement, Proximity, Thinking in Arousal, Flexibility (Recall, Relationship)

Close-Wrapped Play

Confidence, Focus, Arousal Up, Disengagement, Engagement, Proximity, Impulse Control, Thinking in Arousal, Flexibility (Recall, Relationship)

L3-NRG - MENTAL

Paws On Target

Confidence, Focus, Engagement, Independence, Flexibility

Premack Testing 1, 2, 3

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

Behavior Chains

Confidence, Focus, Tolerance of Frustration, Flexibility, Thinking in Arousal

Magic Hand

Confidence, Focus, Engagement, Proximity, Thinking in Arousal (Recall, Walking with Manners, Loose Leash Walking, Relationship)

L3-NRG TOPICS


Exercise Truths: Energy - Physical - Mental - Arousal

All if these topics are interconnected. You exercise your dog to burn off energy. But physical exercise can bring on arousal. Energy is not just physical, as mental energy is just as important. A physically tired dog recovers quickly, and doe not necessarily stave off unwanted behaviors like barking, whining, chewing, or other destructive behaviors.

Your puppy is growing fast, and needs are changing. Consistency is not going to happen for a while yet. So make necessary adjustments when needed. Depending on how your dog feels, certain activities will be appropriate, while other will not. Continue to grow concepts through games. Walks are a wonderful activity but might not be appropriate on some days. Training does not have to be challenging. Constant challenges builds frustration. It iwll be vital to give your dog easy days and just enjoy play and fun with you.

Visit your topic page to learn more about these and many others to help you get through adolescence and on the road to an amazing adult companion.

L3-NRG CUES

Stand

FOCUS

The ability to cue a dog to stand up can be beneficial for a number of reasons:

  • Supports force-free handling
  • Helpful for vet examinations
  • Great for impulse control with behavior chains
  • Helpful for fitness
  • Required for certain games
  • Helpful for baths and grooming
  • Helpful for clipping on harnesses

This is not a stack like you see in conformation. It is simply getting your dog into a standing position.

To work on good posture and positioning, you can use a platform or blocks. Paws On can also be used to work on good posture and positioning.

Spin

CONFIDENCE, FOCUS, AROUSAL UP, ENGAGEMENT, PROXIMITY, THINKING IN AROUSAL, FLEXIBILITY

It is good to have a repertoire of cues at your disposal. Certain cues, especially ones that involve movement, can be more fun than static ones.

Training "tricks" is fun, but you have to be careful which tricks you teach at certain developmental stages. Certain tricks like shake, can quickly be turned into pushy behaviors by the adolescent.

Spin is a nice one because it involves movement, reinforces four on the floor, and the basics can be taught fairly quickly, especially if your pup can follow a lure well.

This is a very good behavior for K9 fitness, as it promotes flexibility in the neck and spine. Trick training is a great way to burn energy - it is a mentally stimulating activity that is fun!


Leg Weaves

CONFIDENCE, FOCUS, AROUSAL UP, ENGAGEMENT, PROXIMITY

Super fun! This cue is seen more as a trick than an obedience cue, but there are so many additional benefits to teaching this behavior.

First, it's something fun in proximity. And if you build value in proximity it supports things like recall, loose leash walking, working through distractions, and value in you.

Second, it can build confidence. Working close to you helps to boost those dogs who might be a bit weary around objects, things over their heads, and obstacles.

Additionally, it can also help to settle a dog who might be a bit concerned in new environments and is a good warm up or cool down for situations in the real world.

It is also greatfor having variety when working behavior chains.

SO HAVE FUN and build great concepts along with it!

Note the mechanics with the luring. I have experimented with many dogs onthe best way to lure and get behavior in order to get good, positive, and reliable are important for good flow and building reliability with the behavior and not relying on a lure.

Get creative with this game and have fun with it. Show your new trick to friends and incorporate it in play or as a behavior in behavior chains once your dog knows it well.

L3-NRG GAMES - PHYSICAL

FUNder

CONFIDENCE, FOCUS, AROUSAL UP, DISENGAGEMENT, ENGAGEMENT, PROXIMITY, IMPULSE CONTROL, THINKING IN AROUSAL, FLEXIBILITY, INDEPENDENCE, GRIT (RELATIONSHIP)

Combining FUN and UNDER... I just love this game - we have such a great time playing together! You will too!

This is a variation on orientation games. It teaches confidence, coming back into proximity, and supercharges orientation to a whole new level of fun! It also helps to support Premack and rehearses how fun it is!

This is a great game to play outside in the backyard or for a walking break at a park. It is also wonderful for inside and a way to burn some energy when the outside weather is... well, less than desirable.

Middle Tunnel Tag

CONFIDENCE, OPTIMISM, FOCUS, AROUSAL UP/DOWN, DISENGAGEMENT, ENGAGEMENT, PROXIMITY, IMPULSE CONTROL, THINKING IN AROUSAL, FLEXIBILITY, INDEPENDENCE, (RECALL, RELATIONSHIP)

Build value with Middle! Variety is the spice of life and this game can be lots of fun. This version puts a new spin on the Middle cue, working distance and value, and bringing it even closer to reliability (when played outside) so you have options for recalls.

Start with shorter distances first. Then mix in ones further away. Eventually over time, you can even practice out of sight Middle within the game. This is when you really feel how Middle can be a great recall cue.

Blend in other Middle games with this one for a fun play session building value in the cue and in a recall.

Having many different ways to recall your dog to you is important, especially with behaviors that are easy to build a lot of value in and useful in many different contexts.

Play this game inside and outside.


Middle Mania

CONFIDENCE, OPTIMISM, FOCUS, AROUSAL UP/DOWN, ENGAGEMENT, PROXIMITY, IMPULSE CONTROL, THINKING IN AROUSAL, FLEXIBILITY (RECALL, RELATIONSHIP)

Here is how to have a ton of fun, using Middle as your anchor for calming down. This is a super charged and fun way to continue to build value in Middle and the value of coming back to you and staying close to you. You are going to be taking Middle and mixing it with some super fun orientation variations to really help build focus as well.

It's a fun way to burn energy, work through excitement/arousal and practice the concept of Arousal Up, Arousal Down all in one game! The movement brings energy up, while Middle and building duration in a position in Middle or adding in other calming games brings arousal levels back down. Experiment with combining your games for a supercharged training session. Build your and play a game that is super fun.

You have a ton of variety with this game so your dog will have a blast and you can continue to build focus in your dog. The combinations also build confidence and value with proximity. Variety is the spice of life! This is why squirrels are so irresistible! Make your games just asfun and rewarding!


Close-Wrapped Play

TRAIN, PLAY, BOND

CONFIDENCE, OPTIMISM, FOCUS, AROUSAL UP/DOWN, DISNENGAGEMENT, ENGAGEMENT, PROXIMITY, IMPULSE CONTROL, THINKING IN AROUSAL, FLEXIBILITY (RECALL, RELATIONSHIP)

Build your value and boost your relationship! Have yourself associated with play and fun and excitement, both inside and especially outside! Supercharge a game of fetch with proximity cues to work through thinking in arousal.

The best way for training to stick is to train during play. This is especially true during adolescence when energy is higher. Fun is important to your young dog, and so you need to make sure that you are in the middle of the fun, and that your training is fun.

Typically what we want our dogs to do is calm and boring to them. So give yourself some flexibility with your training and incorporate it in higher-energy situations, too. The benefits to doing this are huge!

Training during play:

  1. Teaches your dog to listen to you even when in higher-arousal or when more excited
  2. Promotes reliability with training
  3. Boosts your relationship and teamwork
  4. Builds focus and impulse control
  5. Is structured exercise and constructively burns energy, both mental and physical energy
  6. Flexibility with rewards (play, not always food)

If you just play fetch - throwing the ball or Frisbee far away from you to have your dog chase it, all the value is far away from you. This is why so often dogs will back up and away from the owner in anticipation of the throw. They can also refuse to come all the way back, dropping the a ball or Frisbee a few feet away from theowner. This behavior shows that the value of closeness to you is diminished in this situation, something you really don't want for a number of reasons (focus is about the toy - notyou, makes recall reliability more difficult, you can't get control of your dog quickly if needed, the ball and running have more value than you do...). By including training and cuing different proximity cues, you bring the value of being close to you back again. It's part of the game and you are back in the picture for better reasons - you are a team again!

This can be done with a game of tug, too.

L3-NRG GAMES - MENTAL

Behavior Chains Foundation

CONFIDENCE, FOCUS, AROUSAL UP/DOWN, ENGAGEMENT, PROXIMITY, THINKING IN AROUSAL, TOLERANCE OF FRUSTRATION, FLEXIBILITY (RECALL, RELATIONSHIP)

Chaining behaviors together develops the concepts of...

  • impulse control
  • focus
  • reliability

It also canhelp build tolerance of frustration. Start with just two cues. But over time and maturity, build to three or four, then back down to two, then up to five... Vary the number building up and then back down again.

You can also use it to build reliability with both verbal and visual cues, as well as transition a puppy from a fixed schedule of reinforcement (rewards always follow a correct behavior) to an variable schedule (rewards follow some but not all) of reinforcement.

You also get walked through THE REWARD EXPERIENCE, and experiment with different rewards other than food.

This video also helps you to use other rewards besides just food - like toys and play. Alsothink environment as rewards too - like going outside to play, sniffing, etc. Anything that your dog loves!

As your puppy learns additional cues, you can use them in the behavior chains, adding variety and requiring more focus.

It also includes how to use toys and play to build arousal levels and work on "thinking in arousal" which is a crucial piece for teaching impulse control and reliability.

Magic Hand

CONFIDENCE, FOCUS, ENGAGEMENT, PROXIMITY, ITHINKING IN AROUSAL, (RECALL, WALKING WITH MANNERS, LOOSE LEASH WALKING, RELATIONSHIP)

This game is so amazing and fun! And it has so many applications.

I've played this game with my dogs that worry with thunder and lightning and it helps them focus and play through it.

I also play this game to get my dogs past certain distractions. We also played as a warm up and focus game whenat competitions. We also play it for fun during outside play time. They love the catching!

This game is super for building focus (especially when you use a release to end the game) and value in proximity. And, it is very helpful for teaching some basics of heel in a fun way. This game also supports loose leash walking and can even help with recall. And then to top it off, it builds your dogs ability to ignore and work through distractions.

First teach your dog how to catch. Catching is a great game to play to help work through distractions. But, it takes time for dogs to learn how to catch, especially small treats. So catch is the first order of business and this may take a lot of time for your dog to master. Perfect the game inside before taking it outside. When you are ready, proof the game out and about and begin building reliability.

Premack Testing 1, 2, 3...

CONFIDENCE, FOCUS, AROUSAL UP, ENGAGEMENT, IMPULSE CONTROL, THINKING IN AROUSAL, FLEXIBIITY, RELIABILITY

Testing the Premack cue...

Is your dog truly listening to what you are saying? Can your dog differentiate between nonsense words and actual cued behavior? Does the tone or inflection in your voice make a difference? Does body movement prompt your dog to go before the Premack cue is given? If you run forward, does that prompt your dog to break?

These videos show you two more games to play to test the reliability of your Premack cues before taking them to the next level. This game also supports your boundary training efforts.

It also shows you how to start working some arousal levels with using toys.

A bigger challenge - combining both games…

If you are beginning to work on stay, Premack and its reliability is very important, as Stay requires a release. But, for your Premack games, work with a boundary so that you create difference in the Premack games and any mistakes made, and a separate picture with Stay for your dog, where you don’t want any mistakes.

Have fun!!

Paws On Target

CONFIDENCE, FOCUS, ENGAGEMENT, INDEPENDENCE

Challenge accepted! Taking the skills learned in the Paws On! videos and applying them even further. Can you tell I like mental challenges?

This is not only fun, but very useful for general control. It is wonderful to be able to point to something and have your dog focus on it, and then be able to cue a behavior with the object. Additionally, being able to point somewhere and have your dog go in that direction is very handy - no leash or collar pulling! This is a skill for many canine sports, as well as useful in the home and out and about with your pup.

You will have to work close at first, but over time, begin to cue from farther away.

Need a good raining day game...? Here ya go!



Paws On Advanced (Pivoting)

CONFIDENCE, FOCUS, ENGAGEMENT, IMPULSE CONTROL, FLEXIBILITY, BODY AWARENESS

This takes the Paws On Game to a whole new level and teaches body awareness (back-end) and pivoting.

Moving the back end, separate from the front, can be a tough concept for a dog to get. But having awareness of what the back paws and legs are doing is important for general fitness as well as safety.

Make sure that you mix in the concepts of the other Paws On Games (Paws On Duration, Paws On - On Target, Paws on Behavior, Paws On Precision...) so you don't create the habit of always pivoting on an object. It's all about balance and being unpredictable so your dog learns to listen!

This is also a prerequisite if you want to teach your dog to heel.