Monday, January 21, 2008

Keeping Training Challenging

I'm on of those individuals who just loves training. I can't get enough of it. The dog always tires of it way before I do. I can watch competitive obedience until my heart stops beating, and even then, I would want it showing on a small screen in the ambulance as they drove me to the hospital.

One of the challenges of obedience training is keeping things challenging, and I know of no better way of doing that than following Sue Ailsby's Levels.

The levels are designed in such a way that you always have training goals and objectives to work towards, and, presuming you follow them in the manner and using the methods advocated, will have an obedient, loyal, and happy canine friend at the end of it.

In essence, the levels are broken down into six levels:

Level ONE
Level TWO
Level FOUR A
Level FOUR B

To give you an idea of how they escalate in difficulty, in level one, the handler is given the following:

"The dog must Sit from standing position on one cue only (may be a voice OR a hand cue, but not both, and no extra body language from the handler). The handler may use the dog’s name to get her attention before starting."

By level Four B, it becomes...

"Dog Sits and stays for 2 minutes while the handler walks 40’ away, turns and faces the dog, and makes a formal Return. There will be two distractions."

Obviously, there are smaller steps between level one and level Four B.

Ellie is currently working towards level three, having successfully completed levels one and two. We are stuck on getting her to stand at the moment, but were it not for that, she could complete level three. Being a pedant however, I want to accomplish them all exactly as they should be.

Give them a try. They are great fun to follow, and really do keep you and your dog challenged.

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