How to use the Training Equipment
Target plate –
The first item to use is a simple target plate. Cottage cheese or cream cheese lids work the best and are easy to come by. Place a treat on the lid on the ground, stand with your puppy or dog facing it up close, use your left hand along side your dogs face to point to the treat, walk forward saying “Go touch” and let them eat the treat. Do this over and over gradually adding distance towards the target. Make a game of this asking the dog in an excited tone to zoom out to the target. This targeting is great for the utility obedience directed jumping “go outs”, to teach them to jump over a jump getting rewarded with the treat, to learn to go away from you to lie in an area before you answer the front door and for agility contact zones.
PVC Training Box –
The most valuable item and use for so many exercises is a PVC training box. This is a 3-sided box that is slightly raised up off the ground being higher in front than the rear and the size suitable for your dog’s body size. I calculate about 12 different exercises that this item will enhance, including obedience utility/rally hand signals, drop on recalls, quicker dumbbell or glove pick up in place, fronts and finishes to name a few.
Lure your puppy with a treat and verbally say “get in the box” with a sit at first then give them the treat. Again make it fun and exciting with your voice. Bring them out of the box and start again. Do what I call “puppy calisthenics” of going from a stand to a “concertina” fold back down, back up to a pop up sit, kick back in a stand and start all over. Mix up the order using the treat at first as a lure, which will soon become a hand signal. Start up close and gradually adding distance.
For a sit hand signal, use the left hand with a treat going up towards their face but slightly over their head to cause them to sit.
For the stand hand signal, use the right hand with an open palm with a treat in between the fingers, right up against the dogs nose. With the left hand or left foot touch under the dogs’ belly, flank or touch his/her toes to get them to kick back up with just the back legs, leaving the front legs stationery.
For the down hand signal, use treat in the right hand going into their face and chest area, almost pushing into them causing the dog to fold back down. You might need to add pressure on their shoulders to help them go down. You do not want them to sit first then down, as this will cause problems later in training.
If you did your homework on the attention “watch” the puppy should be paying attention to what you are asking. If not run in, goose them, rough house a bit and start over. This is not brain surgery; so if they are slightly out of position, don’t fret it just yet. This restricted movement in the box prevents them from creeping forward, often seen in obedience but not desired. Once they have mastered signals from 6 to 10 feet away you are ready for the drop on recall.