So I’m working Sits and Downs with Jet and Tatum. As well as signals with Chase… which is similar, for utility obedience, but it’s all hand signals and no verbals. I want them all to have good verbals as well as hand signals. Their sits and downs are great on their own, but when I try to mix them up in the same training session then they tend to have more difficulty.
A friend of mine recommended these Training Levels to follow. It’s a training program to help a dog get to competition level without so many holes in their training like so many dogs have (yes, including mine). So I’m starting with Level 1 and I’m working on Sit and Down.
I like to train these things in the same session. I use a clicker, and I like to lure and capture behaviors. But when I lure, say, the down, then I throw in a sit after a bit, neither Jet nor Tatum really listen, they just keep offering the down. So I have to lure the sit a couple times, while saying the verbal. This seems to remind them to pay attention to my voice as well as my hand signals or they won’t get the click and treat.
Jet, of course, is faster at picking things up than Tatum is. She’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. 🙂 But she is understanding. So earlier today I took 5 minutes out of my work-from-home day and trained them each.
Jet is understanding my verbals, I’d say, 90% of the time now when I switch between the Sit and the Down verbals. Tatum is understanding, maybe 70% when I switch between the sit and down verbals. And I stand stationary, keeping my hands behind my back, so that I’m not giving them any unintentional physical cues.
Soon I think I’ll be ready to throw in the stand. They both know the hand signals, but not the verbals as much. So I’ll have to work verbals for a while so they know what the cue means. Well, verbals with some hand signals and switching off so they know what Stand means. 🙂 Though Stand isn’t in the Training Level 1… it’s just something that I do, working the sit, down and stand together as it’s a good utility exercise for the dogs to know. It is probably in one of the higher levels.
With Chase I’m working the hand signals. And he’s getting pretty good at them, though today he was slipping a bit on the tile floor and didn’t want to down. So I put in the verbal with the hand signal on the down and that seemed to help him a lot.
Such good dogs. It’ll be so nice to have clear sits, downs, and stands… I think my dogs have always been a bit confused by them. :p But I’ve never taken the time to teach them this clearly!
Edit… here is the journal entry I’ve started for Tatum (though I didn’t know it was just Tatum at the time and so put Jet’s info in there too): Training Levels Journal