Our level 2 class is comprised of dogs who already have completed their foundation training of sit, down, stay, come, and heel. Level 2 obedience group class is designed to strengthen all the foundations of obedience under distraction, and to build distance and duration for all commands. Our Level 2 obedience class is also the precursor class to working dog’s off leash. Many of the exercises we do in class are modeled off of AKC Novice exercises (for the competition ring). Yet, our instructors are creative so we come up with our games and exercises to take foundation training to the next level.
A few things to point out:
1. All of the handlers in this class are students. The way they handle, or correct their dogs does not necessarily reflect the way we, as trainers, would handle each dog.
2. As long as dogs are not stressed or unhappy, we (the instructors) aren’t too hard on our humans. Group classes are a learning process for our human students as much as they are for our canine students.
3. Level 2 obedience is where we do start providing “correction” for unwanted behavior. All of these dogs have already spent the required time having skills reinforced with treats, toys, and petting praise.
What is a correction in the way we, at AYP, do dog training?
A correction is purely feedback to the dog that they are doing something incorrect. A correction is not necessarily a punishment. In our opinion, a correction shouldn’t be a punishment — it is simply feedback to your dog that you disagreed with their behavior, and will require them to change their behavior immediately. A correction should never scare, shut down, or otherwise make your dog fearful of you. Dog training is about the bond we share with our dog, so we focus on rewarding good behavior and spending more time telling our dogs YES than NO. If you find yourself telling your dog NO more frequently than YES, then you’re doing it wrong.
Types of corrections we most frequently use:
1. Verbal – A firm, but fair, voice to let your dog know they are not doing something correctly. This should be your first line of defense.
2. Body Block – Stepping in front of your dog, or towards your dog, to prevent them from rehearsing unwanted behavior
3. Leash – Unlike “old school” avoidance type dog training, a leash correction in our book is simply using a leash to guide a dog, or take a dog back, to the correction position. The leash is your tool to prevent unwanted rehearsal of “bad” behavior. Your leash should never be used as a punishment tool. A leash can be used to gently guide a dog back into the correct position.
4. Time out – when dog’s are being “squirrely,” and acting up, we do punish them! How? By not allowing them to continue enjoying the attention that a training session provides. Dogs who are being repeatedly unruly, noisy or otherwise squirrely are promptly removed and crated for a few minutes so they can think about what went wrong. After 60-120 seconds of time out, dogs are invited back out to try again. If they act squirrely again, they go back in timeout. The name of the game is “Hey dog, you want to act a fool? Enjoy time by yourself because I’ll be out here having fun without you.”
Enjoy watching some raw footage from tonight’s Level 2 class. I’m a strong believer that as a prospective student, or current student, videos should never be edited to show only the perfect moments. I’m not trying to impress anyone with how well trained my own personal dog is (otherwise I’d just post videos of him all the time). I want you to see my students working with their dogs! I want you to see what goes right, and sometimes what goes wrong. Dog training is a process that takes a lot of time, patience and consistency.
Great job to EVERY student tonight in class. You did great.
Dee Hoult, MBA, CPDT, CTDI
Owner & Head Trainer, Applause Your Paws
Miami’s favorite reward-based dog and puppy training company.