Maizey’s Level 2 Video-Part One

Time for the L2 video of Maizey’s Training Levels progress. She has tested 8 out of the 16 behaviors. So we are half way there.

She tested her first behavior on April 1, 2010 then the last behaviors we tested were on June 6, 2010 so 8 behaviors in 2 months is pretty good. Keeping good records, which I admittedly am not great at, does help. It’s quite encouraging to look back and see how fast her progress really was.

The video shows the tests as outlined for L2, I view it as sort of the basic foundation to build on.

Then after you lay a firm foundation the levels outline a “Continuing Education” section. We are working on much of the continuing education skills for the skills she has already tested. These are some of the great ideas:

COME: call her with my back to her, and recalling her and gently grabbing different parts of her body helps her learn to be caught.

DOWN: work on using other forms of payment. Try a back scratch or Maizey loves it when I clap for her, apparently she loves applause! A toy, or before being released to go through a door are some other ideas.

PARK IT: This has been a really fun one. Part of it is too move the mat around and teach them to figure out where it is and go to it. One time her floppy lion was a few feet closer to her and in front of the mat so she ran over and pounced on it in perfect park it position and just grinned up at me like, “How ’bout this? good enough?” Such a silly girl! This has proved a very practical skill also to help with her reactivity so we have been doing a lot of mat work out side and in many locations.

CRATE: Location of the crate becomes very important now and so far she has learned to be crated outside in our yard, at numerous other peoples houses, at a training field, and in the car to name a few.

To really understand the depth of the levels you really have to just visit Sue’s Training Level book and dive in, but it is a great program, especially if you aren’t in a position to do a lot of classes.

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Milestones Should Always Be Celebrated

Most important things first: congratulations to Maizey for she completed Level 1 in the Training Levels. She has been very close but because of her knee could not work on Come we have not been able to finish. But in just the last two weeks that she has been cleared for normal activity we brushed up her recall skills and she passed tonight beautifully. And thus her Level one is complete!
 ”HaHa mom look at me laughing cause you made me wear a ribbon! You’re so silly mom!”

After that talking to I gave myself in the last post I went back to her levels tracker journal and reviewed what she would need to do to pass a few other tests. Turns out she was ready for a couple. Sit and down. and very close on several others. So we will be updating you on that as it comes around.

She did take her L2 sit test and of course there was no problem. A+ for sitting. 
“See mom? I can even sit on the couch while wearing a ribbon and waiting patiently for you to take my picture!. . .But seriously could you hurry it up a little?”

So that you have an idea of what Passing Level 1 actually means I have put a brief summary below. Hopefully it will help you feel like this is something that is reachable for all of your dogs and their people no matter what kind of limitations of time or energy there is to be dealt with.

Level One Skills:(as copied from Sue Ailsbys Training Levels Book)
COME
The dog must play the Come Game between the handler and a friend or stranger standing 20’ apart. An actual cue to come is desirable but not necessary.

DOWN
The dog must Down from a Sit or Stand with no more than two cues – hand and voice, voice and body language, two voice cues, etc. It is not necessary for the dog to stay in the Down position, simply to lie down.

SIT
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.

TARGET
The dog must deliberately Touch the handler’s hand with her nose on only one voice cue. The hand in position is, naturally, a second, allowable cue. 

ZEN
The dog must stay away from a treat in the handler’s hand for 5 seconds. There can be only one voice cue, which will be given before the hand is presented. 


It’s really not that hard and I suspect many of your four legged friends out there already know much of this. But if you give it a few minutes a day you will see so much improvement and find holes in their reliability that you didn’t know were there. And best of all when you get done with level one you can show how stunningly awesome your friends are by making them pose for a celebratory picture:
Meeka says, “Hey where’s my ribbon? I’m the better girl anyways!”

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A bit of the hodgepodge we are working on

Looking back it seems I haven’t covered much of the ‘how to’ of the behaviors we are currently working on. So here is a brief break down of a couple behaviors we hope to work on  in the next while.

COME L1
The dog must play the Come Game between the handler and a friend or stranger standing 20’ apart. An actual cue to come is desirable but not necessary. 
Maizey has not been working on the Come Game due to her knee surgery.But we have done some very brief sessions before she got sick. At this level we will be working to strengthen both her informal recall cue’s, we use “comecome” the most. Also I want to build reliability in her formal cue’s, “here”, “Maizey” and “Maizey here” I also need to start a hand cue for recall, but I’m not sure what or if it is appropriate at this level. This is slightly different than how L1 come game is played.
CRATE L2
Dog enters crate with no more than two cues (vocal, body language, or hand signals), remains in crate while handler closes/opens door, no vocalizing or pawing.

Maizey loves her crate and often goes in to sleep voluntarily. She could test out of this level now, but we are going to follow the direction to work through each level. I am going to focus more on the continued education part by using her crate in the bedroom, also we will use a spare crate in the living area of the house. I’m going to focus a lot of attention on using her car seats in the house to build her comfort level of using them in the car.


A quick note on car seats, or restraints for smaller dogs: having a car seat is undoubtedly the safest way for them to travel, but w/ the neat seats they have now they can also serve as a crate, or safe place, to keep the pups confined when not in the car. Maizey’s red car seat is also a backpack, has wheels and a handle and lays down to be a bed. It works well in the car and out of the car.

One thing not in the levels that we are working on is building toy drive. Now that Maizey is feeling better we are anxious to get back into training, but she is still on a bland diet of rice and chicken the consistency of baby food. A bit messy for treats! lol But not being able to use food for reinforcement did show me how important toy drive is. She is not toy motivated, mostly because I haven’t taught her to be. So we are starting some toy games today. 

The first is from a Susan Garrett article from Say Yes Dog Training. It has a very fun game that is sure to make me laugh and anyone who sees me laugh at me-if not w/ me! The link is http://www.clickerdogs.com/createamotivatingtoy.htm

The second game is a controlled tug game from Aiden Bindoff. It was printed on Karen Pryors Clickertraining.com. Interestingly we played this w/ both girls last night. Maizey loved it, but Meeka was not so sure. Meeka tugs good already, but the structured way of playing was unfamiliar to her. The link for the game is: http://www.clickertraining.com/node/727

These games should be fun for us all. Which is really all dog training is-a fun way of playing w/ your four legged friends!


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