There’s been a landslide and a tree has fallen, its branches blocking your path. It’s too far to go around, you’ll lose precious time. Team, you’re going to have to go under.
The dog goes under an obstacle and out the other side.
Possible obstacles: table, clothes drying rack, two chairs with something across the top, small dogs can go under a chair
Some dogs are concerned about passing through tight spaces. This can help them. With a dog who is worried about going under things, start with something high e.g. a broom handle across two chairs with a folder towel over. Gradually lower the towel.
How to train
1. Lure your dog under the obstacle with food. Use your marker word as soon as they have fully passed under the object and reward them with the food from your hand.
2. Once your dog is confidently and smoothly following the lure, remove the food and use just your hand for your dog to follow. Mark and reward.
3. Once your dog is confidently and smoothly following your hand without a lure, add a verbal cue just before you begin. Mark and reward. The verbal cue is ‘Commando’.
4. Once your dog is listening to the cue and performing the behaviour, start a short distance away and walk up to the obstacle together.
Only move on when you can get 5/5 confidently and smoothly at each stage. You must be able to tick off all of the boxes in the individual challenges before linking them together.
The Three Ds of dog training: distance, duration and distraction. We can use these to increase the challenge for our dogs. Choose just one to focus on per training session.
Distance is how far away you are from your dog when they perform the task. The farther away you get, the harder your dog is likely to find it. When you’re adding distance, start close and build slowly.
Duration is the length of time your dog stays in position. Some behaviours don’t have a duration factor, such as jumping in the ‘rabbit’ challenge. Behaviours like ‘sit’ or ‘bear’ do require your dog to hold the position longer. The longer we ask them to hold it, the more difficult the task becomes. Be sure to start with a very short duration, just one second and build slowly.
Distraction involves whatever else is going on around your dog at the time, from a deer running across the mountain to a thunderstorm. If your dog finds it exciting or disrupting, it’s a distraction.
Example: adding distraction to Commando
Watch out! Another tree is falling! This is no landslide; it’s the work of the Enemy. There are two obstacles to go under now.