Thread: training 'out'
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Old January 10th, 2007, 02:29 PM
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tenderfoot tenderfoot is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Boulder, Colorado
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The 'out' command is a very important part of our program - the skills you learn and the respect your dog gains for you are invaluable.

Put the dog on a 6' leash & flat/wide collar.

Have a very clear boundary in mind - ie: where tile meets carpet.

Take the dog onto the carpet and you walk back across to the tile and say 'out' in a firm tone as you cross.

Your body language is going to be as follows. Stand sideways to the line & dog (least amount of pressure). Do not stare at your dog - watch him out of the corner of your eye.

If he tries to cross the line you are going to turn towards him and look at him as you stomp your foot towards the line (not over it), use your non-leash hand to give a signal (like a stay signal - flat hand forward) and stop him with the leash.

As quickly as you put on the pressure you must take it off instantly. Like hitting a tennis ball you go right back to your ready stance after you hit the ball. Do not hold pressure on the dog by standing there - it will confuse him.

All of that physical energy coming at him should stop him and he should choose to sit down. However if he doesn't respect you or you are not 'abrupt' enough in your energy then he will challenge you again. He should only challenge 3-5 times before he chooses to sit (calming signal).

Sitting on his part (without being asked) is his way of saying he understands and is not going to challenge you again. If it is a young pup however he might sit and then spring up again because pups don't have much patience.

Now as you are successful he should start watching you like a hawk - you just became a leader because you claimed territory and controlled where he could go.

At first you will have to use fairly abrupt energy (depending on the sensitivity of your dog and how much he does or does not respect you), but as soon as he learns then you need to back off and soften up. If you use your leash consistently for the first few minutes then you will possibly be able to drop the leash entirely and now you are just using body language & voice.

Every time he looks into your eyes you must reward him for checking in - use soft praise him. Too much energized happy praise can cause him to break. Be subtle but clear.

Oh, and he can go anywhere he wants to on the carpet - he just can't cross the line. It is not a 'stay'. This means that when you say 'out' of the kitchen he can go anywhere he likes in the whole house, he just can't come into the kitchen. When you say 'home' he can go anywhere in the yard he likes he just can't ocme onto the sidewalk. Then start creating all kinds of boundaries everywhere you can think of them. Around the dinner table - and say 'don't beg' as your instruction. Create an imaginary box at the front door so that he understands it is your job to greet visitors (not his) and you will invite him to greet only when he has good calm manners. Use it to tell him to stay 'home' when you go to the neighbors to get their mail.

Also be aware of the signals he gives when he is thinking about crossing the line. What do his ears, mouth, eyes, tail, breathing, head stance, legs tell you about his thoughts? I promise you when the head goes down he is rearranging his balance so he can either lie down or move forward. Mostly it will be to move forward. So tell him 'out' then - stop the thought before it becomes an action. Does his tail thump hard just before he leaps forward? do his ears go forward or back? Don't wait until he in on the line to stop him. Just like you wouldn't wait for the child to step into the road - you would stop them before they got to the sidewalk.

The whole goal here is that you can send your dog 'out' from a great distance and not have to 'defend' the line from him. The more respect he has for you the greater distance you can be from the line.

Take it to the next level....he is on the carpet you are on tile - start to toss things he wants on your side of the line. He will try for them and you need to stop him. As he gets good at this - doesn't even try for them, you can increase the value of the distraction. Treats, toys, people calling him. The goal is that he sits and looks at you for advise. This recreates when you drop your hubby's steak on the kitchen floor and the dog wants to grab it before you do. He needs to learn impulse inhibition.

Be sure you teach at levels - from inside the house with and without distractions to outside with distractions to long idstances with distractions - only as you and he can handle it.

As he gets good and gives you the calming signal of a sit, you can start to move away from the line and waking around. You can go onto carpet and all around because you own it all - but besure that when you cross back to the tile he doesn't follow. He should be watching you like crazy this whole time.

This drill teaches patience, impulse inhibition, to look to you for advise, to respect your wishes and to wait calmy for further instructions. It really can make a huge difference in your relationship with your dog, and you just thought you wanted him out of the kitchen.

This is really quite impressive as you watch his brain work things out and have its 'ah-ha' moment.

I hope this all made sense - let me know if it doesn't. As simple at it is it can be tough to put into words.
Love Them & Lead Them,
~Elizabeth & Doug
Dog Training the Way Nature Intended
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