On it – Increasing Distance

The next goal is to gradually place the platform away from you and at various positions in relation to you.

When your dog is learning to go to the object, in addition to the verbal cues “On it”, you can also use your body position to help your dog assume the correct position.

When you start to introduce the distance, do not forget to mark with a “Click” or a “Yes” when your dog has managed the trick and to start with always go to reward it in position to give value to the position.

If your dog already knows the “On it” trick, this is really the stage you should be concentrating on this week: Increasing the distance and the position of the platform compared to you. Also take your platform in to various environments, for example your garden, so your dog gets really good at generalising the trick.

Introducing Distance

Keep on playing the games you learnt last week. Every week you will learn new skills, but you still need to practice the skills of the previous weeks. All those games should become second nature to you and your puppy. They are the building blocks of your training.

When you are comfortable that you can achieve the behaviours in a calm environment such as your home you can start to increase the distance between yourself and your puppy, and later you can also introduce a new environment. Start in a calm environment and later start to add difficulties by gradually introducing some surrounding distractions whilst you are training.

Be patient, do not try to go to fast in increasing the difficulty. For example, move the exercise from inside your house to a calm outside environment such as your garden, then in a calm street or a park (with your puppy on a lead), and then in a busier street.

Try as much as you can to ensure the exercise will be a success. Make it easy for your puppy.

Remember you are trying to condition your puppy to love these behaviours, which in turn will help with better self-control, recalls and on and off lead work.

This week, if your puppy is good at the basic “Say hello” or “Call my name once and grab my collar” games, you can start increasing the distance between you and your puppy. But be careful to only increase the distance gradually.

All puppies progress at their own pace, if you are still struggling with one of the games just keep to the basic, simple exercises. Avoid comparing your progression with others. There should be no pressure.

Just as an example, in sheep herding it is not always the dog who shows the most skill at a young age that becomes the best sheep herder at a mature age.