Your brave dog has volunteered to join the advance party! Send them ahead to scout for danger on the horizon and then have them report back to you.
Your dog moves away from you towards an obstacle, around it and back to you. Choose an obstacle that is not so big that you can’t pass your hand around it, but not so small that your dog turns tightly. In training your dog is required to go around the obstacle in both directions but in your chain you can choose your strongest side.
Possible obstacles: plant pot, footstool, log, tree trunk, box, suitcase, bin, chair, hoover, lawnmower
Great for distance control and helps with recall!
How to train
1. Lure your dog around the obstacle with food. Use your marker word as soon as their shoulder passes the other side of 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 ‘Scout’.
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.
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 ‘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 distance to Scout
Sometimes the path is too narrow for your Team to walk together, or, in the case of Scout, too dangerous. Can you try to increase the distance between you and your dog?
Start right next to the object you’re asking your dog to scout around and gradually increase the distance inch by inch.
As always, I’m looking forward to seeing your videos and answering your questions.