• Michael D'Abruzzo

    October 14, 2009 at 1:27 pm
    balkis;108 wrote:
    Hi Mike,

    I have been doing the Phase 2 obedience training with my 3 dogs for about the last two months now (since I have been a member). All 3 dogs have had previous training so they aleady knew certain commands (ie: sit, down, come). Also, I’d like to point out, all 3 dogs are progressing differently.

    At this point, I have a few questions:

    1. How long should each training session last? I start to get bored maybe they do too.
    2. At what point do you move on to the next command?
    3. How do I measure their success? For example, if the dog does 3 “climbs” perfectly within the same session but on the fourth “climb” he breaks – what does that mean? Does it relate to the 33 day rule in any way?
    4. Is it better to exercise before or after training class?
    5. How many different commands should I cover in one training session? (I guess this could be related to #1)
    6. Do I need to practice “climb” every session? For how long?
    7. How long should they be holding each comand? (kinda related to #3)
    8. How many times a week should you train?

    Those are the few I have right now. I’m sorry if they might seem silly or if the answer lies somewhere in the reading but I didn’t see it.

    Thanks for your help.

    Ok, i will answer in order:

    1. training sessions vary depending on what you are doing. Also, it depends if you are teaching something or practicing something. If you are teaching something it is good to practice until you feell your dog has learned something unless he/she burns out first – then pick up where you left off next time. If you are just practicing do until you are bored is fine. For instance if i am just practicing a “transitional down” i might just put the dog in a down, step on the leash, and make phone calls. I’ll correct as needed, but when im off the phone no need to keep the down going. You can multi-task.

    2.There is a checklist in the training forms section. The way that works is that I finish phase 1 before phase 2, then phase 3. But, within each phase i dont move up numbers until i finish the lesser numbers in the phase. for instance in phase 2 you can work on things at the same time with the same number, but never a number 2 and 3 the same time. because the lower numbers are prerequsits to the higher numbers. Hope im not being too confusing!!!
    This isnt set in stone, but usually i have clients work on each number for a full week, although they can work on same numbers at the same time during that week. Like someone technically can work on the heel, come, and place during the same week if they have enough time and will be able to move on with all if the dog seems to have a good handle on it.

    3. Measure success by how comfortable your dog (and you) seem with understanding the exercise and the exercises rules. In phase 1 and 2 a dog can mess up almost everytime and still be ready to move on. this is possible with a stubborn dog. Did you see the video i put up with elu and hunkie in the aggression rehab section? Hunkie is a very stubborn dog and he will break his downs until the cows come home and he will pull on the leash the same way.but, in phase 3, hunkie stops the pulling without any stress or fear because he understoond what was happening during all the repetition during phase 2- in phase 3 now he was motivated to obey.
    It is actually bad for a dog to be too good in phase 2 since we need the dog to still disobey in order to teach the phase 3 exercises. since hunkie is so disobedient with his downs in phase 2 it is going to make teaching him him easy in phase 3 – since he will give me many oppurtunities to teach. phase 2 is just about teaching how the rules of the climb in phase 1 apply to all the other commands, not perfection.

    4. if i have a very drivey dog i will exercise before to help take the edge off the dog so he/she can concentrate. physical exhaustion and mental exhaustion seem to be too seperate things. If i feel the extra physical energy is going to benifit the session as in with doing recalls – i will do the exercise at the end of the session so they can relax afterwards.

    5. yes, related to 1. I always work on only one new thing at a time per training session, but i may work on something of the same number within the phase on a different training session within the same day. for instance i may do a “heel” session in the AM and a “place” session in the PM. I usually put the dog through their paces quick of all the other basic commands they already know at some point during the session too – even if it is only a couple just to keep it fresh in their minds.

    6. dont have to practice climb every session once the dog knows it – but good to keep it fresh so dont ignore it for too long after the dog has learned it and always good to back to it if you havent trained in a few days for a quick refresher for yourself and dog.

    7. in phase 2 nothing more than a minute or two is really that important. but, i will usually do longer “downs” sometimes up to an hour and i hardly ever even when a dog is finished training make a dog hold a sit for much more than a minute or two – just no reason to. I’ll put them in a down at that point. more comfortable for the dog. also, i will keep them in a heel command for sometimes 30 minutes once they get the hang of it with little breaks every several minutes to “free” and reward.

    8. how many times per week you train is up to you – you will just move slower or quicker. i have had some clients who obviously werent practicing until they came to their weekly lesson with me! but, i still was able to chip them along – i just started where we ended last session and they moved slower. I think 5 days a week for 30 minutes – 60 minutes broken up in 1 or two session per day is plenty to chug along.

    If you feel you are ready to move along to phase 3 – maybe you can come down to the kennel one time with one of your students and i’ll give you a little test. let me know.