I use Sue Ailsby's training levels as a guidline for what to work on at each level but these are completely flexible and I often change the order depending on the needs and likes of the students in the class.
All sessions are 8 weeks long. Consisting of a one hour lesson a week and phone or e-mail help in between classes.
Level One (Basic Obedience)
First Class is a classroom session with no dogs
The dog must play the Come Game between the handler and a friend or stranger standing 20’ apart. An actual cue to come is desirable but not necessary.
Handler stands in one spot with the dog on a loose leash. The dog keeps the lead loose for 60 seconds with one distraction. Handler may talk to the dog and use any loose leash cues, but may NOT give cues to Watch, Heel, Sit, Down, Stand, or Stay. This behaviour is about testing Loose Leash as a default behaviour.
The dog must Down from a Sit or Stand with no more than two cues - hand and voice, voice and body language, two voice cues, etc. It is not necessary for the dog to stay in the Down position, simply to lie down.
The dog must Sit from standing position on one cue only (may be a voice OR a hand cue, but not both, and no extra body language from the handler). The handler may use the dog’s name to get her attention before starting.
The dog must deliberately Touch the handler’s hand with her nose on only one voice cue. The hand in position is, naturally, a second, allowable cue.
The dog must stay away from a treat in the handler’s hand for 5 seconds. There can be only one voice cue, which will be given before the hand is presented.
Dog Downs and stays while partner walks 20’ away and back. Partner may give extra cues while away. An official “return” is not required.
Dog Sits and Stays while partner walks 20’ away and back. Partner may give extra cues while away. An official “return” is not required
The dog comes from 40’ away with no more than two cues (voice, body language, or hand signal). The dog may be left on a Stay or held by someone else. The dog must come close enough to catch without moving. A “Front” is not necessary.
Dog goes around a pole from a distance of 2’ with no more than two cues.
Dog Downs from Sit on one cue only. The handler may use the dog’s name to get her attention before a voice cue. This behaviour must be done with no treats or clicker anywhere in the room or area.
Dog Downs and stays while the handler walks 20’ out, stays for one minute and comes back. One cue is allowed for the Down, and two cues for the Stay. There will be one mild distraction.
GO TO MAT
Dog goes to, gets on a mat, dog bed, hammock, or pause table from 5’ away, 2 cues only - two voice cues, or a voice cue and body language, etc.
Dog allows the handler to handle his ears, tail, and feet. This may be done on a table or on the floor. There must be minimal fussing.
The dog Sits from Stand on one cue only. The handler may use the dog’s name to get her attention before a voice cue. This behaviour must be tested with no food or clicker on the handler or anywhere nearby.
Dog Sits and stays while the handler walks 20’ out, stays away for 30 seconds, and comes back. One cue is allowed for the Sit, and two cues for the Stay. There will be one mild distraction.
Dog Stands from a Sit or Down with no more than two cues - two voice cues, or a voice cue and body language, or body language and a hand signal, or voice cue and hand signal, etc.
Dog remains standing without moving her feet for 10 seconds. Partner may or may not leave the dog’s side. This exercise may be done beside the dog or in front of the dog.
Dog touches the marked END of a touch stick with her nose with only one voice cue. Naturally, presentation of the stick is a second cue.
Dog performs a trick of the partner’s choice. It may be very simple.
Dog finds partner’s face and holds eye contact for 10 seconds with no more than two voice cues. No body language or touching other than looking at the dog.
Dog stays off a treat in the handler’s hand for 5 seconds and off a treat on couch or chair for 10 seconds. No more than two cues for each behaviour, handler cannot guard the treat to keep it safe. Intent is to present the treat at nose level.
The dog must come from 40’ away on one cue only, through milling people. The dog may come from a stay or be held by someone else. A “Front” is not necessary, nor is a Sit.
Dog Downs from a Sit on one cue only from 10’ away. The dog may drift very slightly off the position where he was sitting, but there must be a fairly immediate response to the cue. This behaviour must be done with no treats or clicker anywhere in the room or area.
Dog Downs and Stays for 3 minutes while the handler walks 40’ away, turns and faces the dog, and makes a formal Return. There will be two distractions.
Dog is able to follow eye contact while the handler pivots to the left.
GO TO MAT
Dog goes to his mat, bed, etc from 5’ away, one cue only, lies down, 1 cue only, and remains Down without fussing with no additional cues for one minute.
Left about turn with contact.
Dog maintains a loose leash walking 40’ straight, 2 cues, 1 distraction. Cue any time.
ON THE ROAD
The dog must pass the Level One tests in a strange location. Do your best to make this a STRANGE location. If you normally work in your home, make your test "Road" location a park. If your normal training area is training field, do your "Road" test near a mall or in an arena. You're proving that the dog can work in many different locations.
Dog nose-targets four different objects including a dumbell, on one cue each.
The dog Sits from a Stand on one cue only from 10’ away. The dog may drift off the position where she was standing, but there must be a fairly immediate response to the cue.This behaviour must be done with no food or clicker in the ring or area.
Dog Sits and stays for 2 minutes while the handler walks 40’ away, turns and faces the dog, and makes a formal Return. There will be two distractions.
Dog Stands from a Sit on one cue only. Note that this behaviour is performed with the dog beside or in front of the handler. This is an optional behaviour which must be performed with no food for clicker in the ring or area.
Dog Sit-Stays for examination - a touch of the head and withers by the tester. Yes, that's a SIT Stay.
Dog targets a spot on the floor with her nose or her foot from 10’ away, with no more than two cues. A “Look” cue before sending is acceptable. This is an optional behaviour.
Dog performs a shaped trick of the handler’s choice.
Dog finds the handler’s face and holds eye contact for 30 seconds with as many voice cues as necessary. Glancing away is acceptable but any prolonged look is not.
Dog stays off a treat in a stranger’s hand for 20 seconds, 1 cue only. The stranger will not entice the dog, but won't appear to protect the treat. Testers note it is not in anyone’s best interest to actually allow dog to get treat.
Dog finds a treat hidden under a cup or piece of cloth. This is an optional behaviour.
Dog hits centre line of Front-Ray 3 in a row/5, all cues, DOG must decide what is correct. Sit optional. Start with dog 5’ in front of handler. This is an optional behaviour.
Dog eliminates on cue. Tester should allow no more than two minutes for elimination to begin after the first cue is given. This is an optional behaviour.
Dog walks a flat board with a click on or immediately after the down contact. This is an optional
Dog goes around a pole 4’ away on one cue only. This is an optional behaviour.