Many people want their dog to be a star performer from Day 1. Seeing a dog respond perfectly to a discreet movement of the hand shows off the deep bond between man and man's best friend. But this obedience wasn't learned overnight!
Before you can even begin to expect your dog to obey your hand signals only (no voice command), you must teach him what they mean by using voice commands paired with the signal. This pairing of the two commands must continue for quite a while. But once in the intermediate level, this is what most trainers are aiming for:
Complete control of your dog, whether you use a hand signal only or your voice, whether you are right beside him or out of sight!
So what exactly is involved in many Intermediate Level dog training courses?
1) strengthening and distraction proofing of the Basic or Novice Level obedience commands already learned.
2) greater control at farther distances
3) beginning to work towards off leash control of your dog (including heeling your dog off leash)
4) adding new exercises and commands to your novice level instruction, including:
- sit, stand and down-in-motion: while heeling, you sit the dog and keep walking (dog cannot follow you)
- recall with handler out of sight of the dog
- down-stay and sit-stay out of sight
- stranger food refusal (your dog learns not to accept food or treats from someone until you say so)
- dog training hand signals given from in front
- dog training hand signals from a distance
- food refusal (dog learns not to pick up treats or food while "on command", whether heeling or on a stay)
- automatic sit when you halt (no command given)
- recalls from food distraction
- the finish command - after you recall your dog, he will walk around behind you and return to the heel position
- socializing by working other people's dogs
This is just a sampling of some of the new exercises taught - there can be a lot more. The intermediate level is really a lot of fun! Below: These dogs are on an Intermediate level down-stay.
To learn all of these commands and exercises, you and your trainer should typically take about 6 months of working with your dog consistently - a reliable dog comes from taking time with the training. Don't rush it!
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