Training Plans

There are many different methods and ways to teach dogs to perform desired behaviors. The sample plan below is only one way to train the behaviors necesary to Many people find that attending a training class with a knowledgeable trainer is preferable to training alone; however, sadly we can't all find the time to attend classes.

There are some people so experienced in dog training, they just know what to do and when to do it. It's like the skills are second nature, and low and behold, out of their efforts comes a wonderfully trained dog. But those of use who can't get to a great trainer or can't afford one can still take advantage of what they all have to offer. In this day of volumes of information available on the Internet, learning how to train is at least doable.

To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you're going so that you better understand where you are now so that the steps you take are always in the right direction. Stephen R Covey - The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

There are pros and cons for every type of curriculum (and business) planning, but I've always found that starting at the end and moving to the beginning works incredibly well. Just like when we are training a behavior chain, the strongest and most likely action you start with is the final action the dog will take in that chain. Business building offers the best plan for creating a curriculum I've ever run across.

It starts with the Vision. What is the dream. The dream in concrete terms that any one can understand. For instance: My dog should walk at my left side with his ears parallel to my left hip, never deviating from this position even if I move in different directions. Unobtainable for two reason. One because this universe doesn't allow for 100% and two because distractions happen, distractions that haven't been planned for and it could be that the distraction is yours not your dogs. But this is the dream and the understanding is that this is what you work toward.

Once you have clearly stated your Vision, you need some goals. A goal is a known objective toward which actions are directed with the purpose of achieving that end.There is never just one goal and in the case of our heeling dog, there is more then one goal once you examine the statement of the Ideal Scene. 1) left side 2) ears parallel to the left hip 3) never deviating and 4) the human changing directions. Three major goals that can be planned for.

Next are the plans. These are broad general plans for acheiving the goals, the specifics happen later. This step is necessary as it allows you to see where your goals can intersect so that the games you will be creating/using in your curriculum can serve multiple goals. So plans for our heeling dog with goal #1 - the dog is on our left side. 1) teach the dog that the left side is truly the place where magic happens; 2) play games that always move the dog to the left side of the body as the start and finish of the game; 3) Create cues that the dog will be trained to understand mean go to the left side and wait. All three plans enhance the goal of the dog being on the left side, choosing to be on the left side, finding major reinforcement on the left side and making it exciting to be on the left side.

Now we are going to skip quit a few steps in a business plan, mostly because we don't have to worry about orders, heirarchies, staffing, policy setting and other things that are specific to a business and to a group of people. We are going straight to the projects. Projects are analogous to our games for the purposes of planning a curriculum. Take each of your goals and either match a know game to it, or create one. You should have at least one game per goal, and max 3 or 4. For example: 2) play games that always move the dog to the left side of the body as the start and finish of the game. Games for this could be Flick and Finish, Circle and Spin, and Where's the Beef.

Savvy Socialization

Vision: A dog has the tools to calmly assess and confront any situation, environment, experience, object, person, dog or other animal.

Goal Week 1 – Tools for assessment of personal space and the bodies relationship to environments
Plan – Introduction to novel and unique movements and spaces. 

Days 1 and 2: Confidence Course

Plan – Introduction to the body, it's sensations and how others can affect it.

Days 3, 4 and 5: Reach For It
One Foot Blue Foot
Elvis Has Left The Building

Goal Week 2 – What to do when assessing new spaces and new people
Plan – Introducing spaces and what can be done in them

Day 1: A Room For Each Behavior
Day 2: Walk About
Day 3: Do Nothing

Plan – Games that will assist in learning about new people

Day 4: Flirt Pole
Day 5: Chase My Hand

Goal Week 3 – Understanding a meet and greet cycle with other dogs, people and other animals
Plan – Teach how to gather information about other living beings

Day 1: Circle and Sniff
Day 2: Musical Chairs - Musical Mats

Plan – Teach how to approach with proper etiquette other living beings

Day 4: Calming Circles
Day 5: Walk Towards Calm

Plan – Teach how to move the body in order to gather information

Day 6: Body Targets