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We have used an inductive reasoning to separate the Levels of dog training. This blog explains where a dog is at on each level, what we teach them, and how to progress the dog, and increases our ability to focus more intelligently on exactly what the wish to accomplish with each lesson. Understanding this also helps us to progress with less stress, more focus, faster, and better, with each dog. When you break your goals for instruction down it becomes more comprehensive and easier to understand for the dog, and the handler/trainer.
The following are basic notes for training dogs on five distinct levels of training, beginning with basic instruction, and progressing to advanced levels of training. We are concerned here with an organization of what we are teaching the dog, and not with the details of our training.
LEVEL ONE DOG TRAINING
The goal of the first level of training is to imprint a positive experience in the mind of the dog, associated with the specific behavior you are introducing your dog to. The pup/dog, who knows nothing about what it is being taught, needs to be given a positive experience that will produce a positive memory they can associate with the behavior the trainer desires for them to learn.
1. Set them up to want your attention, affection, and handling using a kennel, bringing out on a chain, and making the wait for you.
2. We use food, not a much as a reward, but as a conditioning tool, giving it to the dog during the entire time they are being trained.
3. The training needs to happen quickly, short sessions, with time in between where the pup/dog can refocus mentally and emotionally, and prepare for the next session.
The emphasis in level one training is on the handler, to put the training into the pup/dog. It is their energy, their power, their performance, which helps the pup/dog to stop, focus, receive, follow, and desire to perform the training shown to, and performed for, them. Giving the pup/dog as positive, exciting, nurturing, and beneficial experience as possible it ultimately what counts.
1. Learning how to use your body, your voice, and your brain, to communicate correctly in a positive, exciting way, is imperative to the first level of training.
2. Learning how to handle your dog will help your pup/dog to relax, focus, and produce positive receptiveness to your energy, and intentions.
3. Learning to use your environment to motivate your pup/dog to want to learn
The most important part of Level 1 training is producing a foundation for your pup/dog that will encourage strong performance, and make it easier for you as you continue to condition your dog. Creating positive experiences that will develop desire to continue the training you want your dog to learn is what Level 1 training is all about.
*Almost every pup that comes to me for training after 4 months of age shows signs of abuse, where they were traumatized through a training experience, which shows a failure on the part of their handler/trainer. Though they may be well intentioned:
• most people are motivated and mentally controlled by fear
• most people quickly develop insecurity
• most people are motivated by greed.
These factors influence the energies they project out at your pup/dog. They are toxic, and will influence your dog, even if you don’t intend for them to come across. There is no way to hide or control them because they are emotionally triggers by your brain’s Amygdalas, (your emotional control centers) automatically, and no matter your conscious mind tries to produce, these innate behaviors will come out. As soon as you are put, (by the pup/dog, or whoever) in a defensive position, they will surface like a submarine, and attack. Theonly way NOT to trigger these responses is not put or be paced in a position with your pup/dog, where your ego/will is being challenged.
A dog has three working drives that are necessary, in order to train them as a working dog. You have a food drive, a prey (or retrieving) drive, and a bite drive. There are two types of prey drive, a prey-retrieve drive, and a prey-kill drive. Everything you teach a pup or dog will become a story, a mental picture that they put themselves into. You need to help them create a story for everything you teach them that will fit into your strategized plan. In so doing you will be able to create the emotions, and perspective your dog has about the work you want them to do. If trainers would put the intensity, emotion, and sensitivity they put into protection work into obedience work, they would see phenomenal success.
LEVEL TWO DOG TRAINING
In Level Two several things happen that change your dog in many ways:
1. You institute the thought process, and the learning process, (see my book DOG PSYCHOLOGY 101).
A. You teach the dog to stop, relax, and enjoy being quiet with you
B. You teach the dog to stop thinking about them self and instead focus on you.
C. You teach the dog how to ignore distractions
D. You teach the dog how to observe, think about, and receive your instruction
E. You teach the dog how to follow your instructions
F. You teach the dog how to correct their own mistakes
2. You teach the dog how to focus on your energy,
A. taking them from the self-absorbed conscious state of mental being that has controlled them up to that minute of their life,
B. Teaching them to get outside themselves and concentrate on you instead.
C. Teaching them to concentrate on only you for 10 seconds to 10 minutes at a time.
D. The dog learns to tune the specific level of energy they use and project to match yours.
E. They do this through on line, double line training, on a tie out, and then in the training field.
F. You then teach the dog to focus on your hand and body communication process.
As you do this, using several selected techniques and exercises, several things happen to your dog:
A. You teach the dog to feel the energy you project with your hands first, and then with your body, and finally your brain.
B. You teach the dog to move step by step “in-sync” with you physically and mentally.
C. You teach the dog to tune their intentions to yours.
D. You teach the dog to work as a connected extension of your co-intentions.
E. You and your dog become partners in co-creating your own world.
3. You teach the dog how to overcome stress with focus and intention
4. You teach the dog to work voluntarily, willingly, intelligently, and
5. You teach the dog to make their own decisions and follow through
As a result of Level-two work you and your dog become an integrated, connected team.
In level two work, you use only instruction, NO harder corrections, but suggestions, designed to focus the intentions of the dog. In level-two work:
A. You teach your dog how to use their left brain, and to develop their rational faculties. This actually teaches the dog to use their brain and intelligence abilities to behave in ways that we, as human beings, can understand and respond to.
B. You teach your dog to be sensitive to energies in you, around you, and in the psycho-centric world surrounding you.
C. You teach your dog to go into “Command Mode”, where they slow down, focus on you, feeling, smelling, hearing, seeing, and connecting with you. (If a “well trained’ dog could be anything, they would be YOU.)
D. You teach the dog to consciously make correct decisions, to think in a focused, intelligent, proper manner that is dependable and predictable.
Even though, in Level-two work, we accomplish a multitude of accomplishments, these are all done on a level where your dog can work, at first, with as little stress as possible. This is a level of maturity, where your dog, and most people, are the most comfortable. Then you progress to higher levels of diversity, stress, and complexity. Finally, your dog should progress to the point where their thought process is focus and capable of making proper decisions instantly, without arguing or disputing your intentions.
THE REASON FOR MATURITY LEVELS IN DOGS
There is a reason for the maturity levels adapted by dogs, and humans. It is primarily to protect them from the onslaught of stressful attack, presented by circumstance, in the world around them. A lower maturity level serves to protect the dog mentally and emotionally from having to respond on a level that might cause injury to them. There are dogs that seem to naturally possess a higher level of maturity, and many dogs, through training raise their maturity levels. They also live a shorter life span, and die younger than those who don’t.
One of the great things about level-two work is that we can instruct the dog where it is at, without having to modify its maturity levels, or its mentality. This is important because we progress with the dog as they are ready and capable. Every dog is different, with different temperament, dispositions, and instincts (and accompanying drives), and it is our goal to help each dog progress as is best for them, with their particulars.
Discipline should be viewed as a two edged sword. The top part of the sword is instructional, based fundamentally on love. It is used to clarify, motivate, and produce proper performance in the dog in a positive way that bonds the dog to the handle, and produces a “team” training type of experience. The bottom side of the sword is like a dark side. It is expressed as punishment, or correction, and expresses anger, the desire to cause
Pain; and used as the justification of a desire for retribution. It causes separation, division disassociation, and leads to indifference.
Instruction is meant to educate, to teach and condition. This allows the dog to learn, accept, respond, normalize, personalize, and begin to habitualize the conditioning given, in preparation for level three work. Instruction is best viewed as uplifting, working for your dog’s best interests, and is a caring function.
Every one of us needs discipline. It is a function of love, concern, caring, and produces confidence. The person who doesn’t discipline their dog, doesn’t love their dog.
LEVEL THREE WORK
Modern day dog training was started in 1902 in Bavaria Germany by Col. Conrad Most, and the creator of the German Shepherd Dog, Max Von Stephanitz. In his book on dog training, Most described in detail how to use compulsion to condition dogs to perform. Col. Most had been the national Obedience Dog Champion two years in a row because of his conditioning methods, and was gaining popularity. Using his methods, Max put together the most comprehensive training program ever developed for a working dog, which they called Schutzhund training, which they used to train Police K9s for Germany. Today 10,000,000 dogs are still being trained and compete world-wide in this dog sport.
In the past 40 years dog training has evolved, and now there are several different methods being used. However, the original methods produced by this team still serve as the fundamental standard for all dog training. Unfortunately, 99 percent of all dog trainers have never heard of Conrad Most, or Von Stephanitz, and are ignorant.
In some ways, there level three work contradicts the level two work. These levels are not meant to be consecutive, or to overlap each other. They are each areas in themselves. There are five steps to teaching anyone anything: stop, focus, receive, follow, and respond.
Each step in training requires a separate thought/emotional progression, in and of itself.
Each step in training is different for each dog. For instance, the fourth step in the learning process is what I call ‘follow’.
In this process, the dog has to learn to receive your command and then to respond by identifying your intention, and obediently performing, exactly as requested. This is a complex process because it demands that the dog give up its will, and substitute it with yours. For a female dog, who sees herself as yours, this is a natural bonding progression. However, for a strong male dog, who sees you as his, this becomes a hysterical contradiction of everything he feels and believes. For this reason most females can progress faster and easier than males.
• To respond as “commanded”
• To respond instantly without having to think or determine
• To respond instantly
• To learn to focus, mentally absorb the handler/trainer’s intention, and respond
Level three work helps the dog to take all of it’s training, and use it right now, in this moment, to perform exactly as requested.
In Level three work the dog learns to resolve its stress experiences by responding quickly, in an effort to resolve its immediate ‘Delima’.
In level three work the trainer/handler must use verbal and simultaneous physical instruction. The dog is getting conditioned to respond instantly, to avoid the physical instruction. This training does parallel the training of Col. Conrad Most, only slightly abbreviated, and not as hard, because the dogs we are training with are not Police K9s with sharp temperament levels, but Service Dogs, with medium or medium high quality temperaments.
• A higher level of respect for the command.
• A sharper focus from the dog on the handler’s intention.
• A deeper respect for the handler/trainer in the mind of the dog.
• A stronger desire to perform in the mind of the dog.
• A more single minded focus between the dog and the handler/trainer.
• A more cohesive behavior from the dog.
Through your work with the dog in level three the dog and the handler should learn to advance their mutual respect and natural bond for and with each other. This training sets the team up to progress into the fourth level of dog training. Remember that as you train your dog in level three you need to be sensitive to the dog’s mental/emotional needs and desires. Sometimes you might want to start on level two, and then advance into level three work, especially in the beginning, so as not to overwhelm the dog. It is not bad to start on level one, and progress from there, depending on where your dog is at.
In level four training we draw from the first three levels of training with the dog, and the strength of that conditioning, to provide a strong and fundamentally comprehensive background, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically, for each dog being trained.
Level four training teaches the dog to respond to the handler, regardless of its situation, environment, or its particular experience. In this level the dog is tested continuously by being placed in situation where they have the choice to choose whether to follow the commands of their handler, or to follow their own dictates. The dog is then taught that not following the commands of their handler can be dangerous, self-abusive, and futile.
In this level the training with the dog is focused on teaching the dog not to trust its own instincts and thought processes, but instead to learn to look for and follow the commands of their handler. In order to do this with a minimum amount of stress, compulsion, and trauma, the supervised, controlled, partial use of an electronic collar is necessary.
Dog Wish does not use electronic collars to teach dog training to dogs. Electronic collars are only used as the final step in the learning process.
1. First we comprehensively train a dog, so that they, without a doubt, know exactly what is expected and how to perform in each exercise where an electronic collar is going to used.
2. Second, the dog must have gone through the “thought” process to the point where they have consciously made the decision to act, exactly as commanded and expected.
3. Third, their decisions and actions in each circumstance must have become habitually engrained into their thought process, which takes a minimum of 21 days.
4. The collar is then used on a minimum setting, and upgrades only as is necessary to work with the mental process of each dog, to accomplish its goal.
5. Again, this process is not an end in itself, and the dog’s performance must be critically evaluated with each use. Often, the process needs to be stopped, and
the level of training backed up, to give the dog time to evaluate and perform correctly.
As this level of work continues, the dog needs to be trained while wearing the electronic collar, however using it less and less, and on lower levels. This progression is only successful when it is done exactly as written here.
The training with the electronic collar should shorten the predictable response time for each dog, reducing its stress and mental Delima, and helping the dog to make faster, more focus, dependable decisions.
LEVEL FIVE TRAINING
In level five training the dog and handler work with a regular collar, and the dog responds based on its training, with the handle/trainer, as a team effort. In this level the dog should have habitualized its conditioning, and not need harder instructional efforts. It should work in-pack as trained.
For questions and concerns contact firstname.lastname@example.org
or call Bob Taylor 760-662-3767