Dogtra | iQ | Basic Obedience Training With Your DOGTRA E-Collar

Basic Obedience Training
With Your DOGTRA E-Collar
E-Collar Introduction
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Whether training companion, working, or sport dogs, we all want a
happy and willing worker that responds quickly to commands at a
distance under distraction. Your new DOGTRA collar is a versatile
training tool that can help you reach that goal.
Your DOGTRA electronic training collar (e-collar) is a safe, reliable,
and effective training tool. With it, you can make perfectly timed
corrections even at great distances. In addition, the adjustable intensity
feature allows you to match the stimulation of the training collar to
your dog’s temperament and the distraction level of the moment for
maximum training efficiency. However, correcting to stop unwanted
behavior is only a fraction of what you can do with your e-collar.
Your DOGTRA e-collar can be a powerful tool for encouraging
desired behavior. But first, you must identify an e-collar intensity
setting for your dog that is high enough to be noticed but not so high
as to be disruptive. Then, your dog must learn to act in response to the
e-collar and that he can, by his actions, control it.
foto works studio LLC
Manual Contents
1
E-Collar Introduction
Discovery Learning
Training Guidelines
1
2
4
Getting Started
Here
Heel
Sit
Kennel or Place
Ongoing & New Work:
The Formal Recall
Add Distractions
Kennel on Top
Introduce the Finish
Add Distance on Kennel
Automatic Sit
Finish on Command
Sit-Stay; Left Turns at Heel
Down; Kennel Into Car
Polishing
The “Tap” Dance
6
8
10
11
13
13
13
13
15
15
17
19
20
23
26
27
You will find this method of e-collar training is even gentler than
Problem Solving
many traditional leash-training methods. Additionally, the e-collar
improves communication by providing instant feedback to your dog
during training. This reduces confusion, fosters a positive training attitude, and accelerates learning,
rapidly producing off-leash reliability.
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Even if your dog already knows the basic obedience commands, follow the procedures given. Your dog
must learn how to respond to the e-collar for each command before you can use your DOGTRA collar for
training at a distance.
Discovery Learning
Have you noticed how excited a child gets at discovering she has the power to make a room go light or
dark by flipping the light switch? She will throw the switch repeatedly.
This excitement in the moment of discovery, often called the “aha!” experience, is one of the keys to this
new approach to e-collar training.
We have designed each learning situation so that your dog can “discover” for himself how to stop the tap
in each new situation. Just as the child is excited with her newfound power at the light switch, your dog
will be excited to discover that he has real control over his situation. You will be amazed at your dog’s
positive attitude as he becomes fully engaged in the training process.
© PAT NOLAN METHOD: BASIC OBEDIENCE
1
Training Guidelines
Problem solving — Train your dog through the basic obedience program before using your DOGTRA e-
collar to correct for unwanted behavior. Many problem behaviors will resolve because of obedience
training; all unwanted behavior is easier to stop once your dog learns to work for you and in response to
the e-collar. See www.dogtra.com for information on problem solving.
Balance — If you use the e-collar for only one response for a long time, you will have a problem
teaching your dog other responses to the e-collar. Put equal emphasis on all the commands to keep a good
balance of responses.
Confinement — Confine your dog to his crate or kennel for at least an hour before training. He will look
forward to training and the chance to work with you.
Confine him after training for an hour to allow his lessons to soak in. He will retain more of his lessons
and learn faster.
Repetition — Your dog can learn a new command quickly, but many repetitions are required to form new
habits. Therefore, train at least five days a week, no more than six. Most dogs will do well with daily
sessions of about 20 minutes each. Some high-energy dogs do better on longer sessions and two sessions
a day. Begin and end each session with a few minutes of review of the previous lessons learned.
Continuity — This program is set up so that each step lays a foundation for the next. It is best to follow
the sequence given. Do not jump around.
Consistency — Set rules or boundaries for your dog and stick to them. It is unfair to allow your dog to
jump up on you one day and then correct him
the next for doing the same thing.
During your training and daily interactions
with your dog, do not give any commands that
you are not prepared to enforce.
Do not be tempted to take the e-collar off and
“try and see if he does it without the collar.”
This will teach him to be “collar wise,” that is,
a dog that acts differently with the e-collar on.
Fairness — When teaching a new command,
do not apply e-collar stimulation without
guidance. Introduce each command on leash
or line so you can gently guide your dog into
the desired response. When your dog
Buddie loves to retrieve!
understands the command, fade out the leash
guidance. You want your dog to choose to
respond to the e-collar, not the pull of the leash. When he is off leash, there will be no leash pull.
Introduce new commands one at a time. If you introduce several new commands at the same time, your
dog may have trouble connecting your praise or correction to a particular response. This slows learning.
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© PAT NOLAN METHOD: BASIC OBEDIENCE
Praise — Remember to praise your dog with a pat or scratch, and your voice for good performance. In
addition, the chance to retrieve or chase a favorite toy is a powerful reward for many dogs.
Distractions — Introduce new commands in an area free of strong distractions. Your dog will learn
faster. However, once he knows a command, gradually increase the strength and nearness of distractions
in training. If you want your dog to obey in the most distracting environments, you must train in them.
Distance — Start close; it’s easy to guide your dog’s response and he can quickly complete an action.
Once your dog will respond correctly at short distances, gradually work at greater distances. As you
increase distances, train first without distractions, then finally work at long distance near strong
distractions.
Obedience train first, then teach e-Fence boundaries
Your DOGTRA remote training collar is a multi-purpose tool for teaching your dog a wide variety of
commands. DOGTRA’s e-Fence is a single-purpose system designed to teach him to respect boundaries.
You can train your dog to both; if possible, follow the obedience program outlined here before training
him to the e-Fence boundaries.
Don’t worry if you have already trained your dog to e-Fence boundaries before starting his e-collar
obedience. Simply do
his initial e-collar
obedience work in a
different location to
avoid confusing him.
E-collar ready?
Follow the
instructions in your
owner’s manual to
make sure your
DOGTRA collar is
fully charged, turned
on, and is snug and
high up on your dog’s
neck.
Good.
Let’s get started.
The e-collar should be snug and placed high up on your dog's neck.
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Teaching Time Frames
The lessons presented below offer suggested teaching time frames. Many of the steps can be taught in a day or over several
days, depending on your dog and meeting the touchstones set out in the paragraph “Moving on” included with the objectives.
Getting Started
Objective 1 — Find the right initial e-collar setting for your dog
Every dog perceives the stimulation from the e-collar slightly differently. Also,
as the distraction level of the environment changes you will need to work up and
down on the intensity setting dial to get and keep your dog focused on training.
But first you need to find a good starting point.
Week One
Day One
To use the e-collar in early training you need to identify an intensity setting that is high enough that
your dog notices it but is not so high that it upsets him.
Bring your dog from confinement to your training area. He should be wearing his e-collar and
another collar, either a flat buckle or slip-type collar. Attach a 15-foot line to this collar and not the
e-collar. Allow your dog to relax and explore his surroundings (see below).
As your dog explores his surroundings, determine the correct intensity setting.
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With the e-collar on your lowest intensity setting, push the “Nick” button to “tap” your dog. You
may see no reaction. Now continue to “tap” at random, increasing the intensity setting each time.
Watch carefully, as the first signs that your dog notices the e-collar are usually subtle. When they
first feel the e-collar some dogs stop and look up; others may turn to look over their shoulder or
shake their head; some sit and scratch at the collar.
When you see that your dog has noticed the tap, stop increasing the intensity setting. After a short
pause, repeat a few taps at this setting to make sure that your dog did, in fact, notice the e-collar. If he
did, this will be the introductory or teaching setting for your dog. (Occasionally, once the dog realizes
that he feels something from the e-collar you can reduce the setting; do not reduce below the level
that your dog responds to.)
The most effective intensity setting for teaching with the e-collar is one that is just high enough that
your dog notices the e-collar, but not so high that he shows any panic or distress. If panicked by the
e-collar stimulation, reduce the setting; if he shows no reaction, increase the setting.
Review
Work on a 15-foot line attached to a second collar.
Start at your lowest intensity setting. Use no commands.
While your dog explores his surroundings, tap and increase the intensity
setting until he notices the e-collar.
Repeat a few times at this setting to make sure he really has noticed the
e-stimulation.
Using this initial setting, you want your dog to discover that when he feels the e-collar tap, he can
stop the tapping by moving to you.
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Here
Objective 1 — Your dog discovers he can turn off the e-collar tap by moving toward you
Still working on the 15-foot line attached to his other collar and the e-collar intensity set at your
introductory level, wait until he is engaged in exploring his environment.
Begin tap, tap, tapping with the e-collar as you gently pull on the line to turn your dog toward you.
Stop tapping and praise as soon as your dog moves toward you. Release him to return to explore
with an “OK.” Repeat. Work several of these.
Review
Begin tap, tap, tapping on the e-collar without command as you gently pull
on the 15-foot line.
Stop tapping as soon as your dog moves toward you. Praise him. Pause
and release him with “OK.” Repeat.
Moving on . . . When your dog is consistently moving toward you as soon as he feels the e-tap
you are ready to move on.
Objective 2 — Add the command Here
With your dog on the 15-foot line attached to his other collar, and the e-collar intensity set at your
introductory level, wait until he is engaged in exploring his environment.
Command Here in a normal tone of voice and begin tap, tap, tapping with the e-collar as you gently
pull to turn your dog toward you with the line. Stop tapping and praise as soon as your dog moves
As soon as your dog moves toward you, stop tapping.
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toward you. If he stops before reaching you, start tapping and repeat the Here command. Praise him
for coming and wait a few moments for him to return to exploring. Repeat.
Work several of these recalls. Remember to praise your dog each time he comes to you before
releasing him on “OK” and allowing him to return to exploring.
Don’t wait to see what he does when you call; begin e-collar tap, tap, tapping immediately after
your command and add gentle pressure or pull on the line. The correct sequence is: command Here
and begin the e-collar taps and gentle line pressure at the same time. Both the e-collar taps and the
line pressure stop as soon as your dog starts to move toward you. Your dog discovers that he can
stop the tap by coming to you when called.
Review
With your dog exploring on the 15-foot line, command Here and begin ecollar tap, tap, tapping. Stop tapping as soon as your dog moves toward
you. Praise him when he gets to you.
Pause before giving an “OK” command to release your dog to return to
exploring. Repeat.
If your dog doesn’t come all the way to you, repeat the command and start
tapping again.
Moving on . . . You are ready to move on to shaping the Heel response when: 1) your dog
responds immediately to your command and tap on Here; 2) he begins to linger near you longer
after each recall; and 3) even while exploring your dog is mindful of where you are.
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Heel
Now that your dog knows to move toward you in response to the tap, let’s use that response to
shape the heel. We want him to discover that moving into heel will stop the tap.
Heel is not just a position but a relationship. When he is at heel, your dog is to stay by your left side
facing the direction you are, his shoulders even with your legs, close but not touching. When you
move he should move; when you stop he should sit. Your dog should watch you and stay in
position. You should not have to constantly remind him with commands or leash tugs.
Objective 1 — Your dog learns to pay attention to your movements and stay within five
feet of you
From your work on the recall your dog knows to move toward you to stop the e-tap. Imagine a fivefoot circle on your left side. Step off on your left foot and begin walking.
Each time your dog moves out of this five-foot circle, move away from him opposite the direction
he left the circle and begin e-tapping. Each time he moves back toward the circle, stop tapping.
Always start walking on your left foot. If your dog lags outside the five-foot circle, move faster and
tap until he moves toward you. Continue walking.
If your dog forges past you, turn right-about when he passes outside the five-foot circle and tap, tap,
tap with the e-collar until he moves toward you. Praise him when he returns and keep moving.
If your dog passes behind you to walk on your right side, use your line to pull him back to your left
side as you tap, tap, tap with the e-collar. Stop tapping when he is again on your left.
He will quickly learn the five-foot circle and work to stay inside it.
Review
Think of an imaginary five-foot circle on your left side.
If your dog moves outside this area, move away from him and begin tapping
with your e-collar. When your dog moves toward you, stop tapping and
continue walking.
— If your dog forges ahead, turn right-about and begin tapping.
— If your dog moves wide left, turn right and begin tapping.
— If your dog lags, increase your speed as you begin tapping.
Moving on . . . When your dog is working to stay inside this five-foot circle, you are ready to add
the command Heel and to increase the demands on his attention by reducing the size of your
imaginary circle to two feet.
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© PAT NOLAN METHOD: BASIC OBEDIENCE
Objective 2 — Add the command Heel and shape
the heel response
Replace the 15-foot line with your six-foot leash. Start off on
your left foot and command Heel each time you start to
walk. Every time your dog drifts outside the two-foot circle
move away from him opposite the direction he left the circle
and command Heel and begin tapping.
Review
Step off on your left foot and command Heel each
time you start to walk. Command Heel each time
you turn away from your dog and begin tapping.
Moving on . . . When your dog is focusing attention on
you and working to stay inside the two-foot circle, he’s
ready to learn to sit when you stop.
When your dog moves outside of the five-foot circle, move away
from him in the opposite direction and begin tapping. Stop
tapping when your dog moves toward you.
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Sit
Objective 1 — Your dog discovers he can stop the tap by sitting
Take a short grip on the leash with your right hand and pull up and a bit forward on
the leash. At the same time, place your left hand on the dog’s back at the loin, thumb
toward you, and gently squeeze, pushing down. Use the raised leash to control his
front end; use only enough tension to prevent him from swinging away. Squeezing
the loin muscles helps to relax them and
gives you a better grip, ensuring that you
can place the dog into position. Every time
you stop at heel, place your dog to sit and
begin to tap, tap, tap with the e-collar. When
you feel him relax his muscles and begin to
sit, stop tapping.
To Place
Your Dog
To Sit
Review
Every time you stop at
heel, place your dog to sit,
e-collar tapping as you do.
Stop tapping as soon as
you feel your dog relax his
muscles and begin to sit.
Moving on . . . When your dog is melting
into the sit position as you begin to place
him you are ready to add the Sit command.
Objective 2 — Add the command Sit
Now command Sit as you begin to tap and
place your dog. When he is sitting as soon
as he hears the command, you can stop
placing him. If your dog balks or stops
halfway down, place him right away.
Review
Be sure to keep your thumb in toward your body when
placing to sit. You may have to step back as you
place your dog.
Command Sit as you begin to tap and place your dog.
Stop placing to sit.
If your dog balks or stops halfway down, place him right away.
Moving on . . . Practice enough repetitions (10-15 a session) so that your dog is sitting quickly on
command. From now on have him sit every time you stop at heel. You want this to become a
deeply ingrained habit.
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Kennel or Place
On the command Kennel or Place your
dog shall go away from you to a
designated spot and stay there.
This is a very useful command.
First, it balances out e-collar response.
The Here and Heel commands both ask
for movement toward you, and Sit is
initially taught by your side, but the
Kennel command requires your dog to
move away from you in response to the
e-collar. In the house, the command is
useful to send and anchor your dog.
To start, use the bottom half of an
airline shipping crate. Many dogs are
familiar with these crates and the crate
sides help direct the dog into the proper
spot. As soon as he is kenneling on
command we will flip the crate half
over and use it as a raised platform.
Once he knows the command well you
can substitute anything he can see as a
target for Kennel.
If you don’t have a shipping crate, any
visible target that is big enough for your
dog to get comfortable on will work.
Objective 1 — Your dog discovers he can turn off the tap by getting in the crate
If you have a lot of trouble
getting him to go into the
crate, step in yourself and
call and guide him in with
your leash while you tap,
tap, tap. Stop tapping when
he gets all four feet in.
Walk with your dog on leash toward the open end of the kennel. As you
approach, shorten your grip on the leash to make it hard for your dog to
avoid the crate. When you are about two feet from the crate opening,
begin e-collar tapping. Continue walking and pass on the right side of
the crate to put your dog in line with the opening. When your dog is in
the kennel, stop tapping.
After a short pause, step back to face the open end of the crate and call
your dog out. Praise him for coming and walk him off the spot. Take a short break before returning
to Kennel him again.
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Objective 2 — Add the command Kennel
When your dog is quickly stepping into the crate as soon as the tap begins and he doesn’t need
leash guidance, add the command Kennel as you tap. Use the same approach and walk-up you have
been doing, but now just before you begin to tap, command Kennel.
Moving on . . . When your dog willingly enters the crate on your command Kennel and tap, you
are ready for the next step.
Objective 3 — Your dog learns to move
away from you to the crate on the
command Kennel
Now when you are walking toward the
crate, stop about two feet from the crate
and give the Kennel command. Your
dog has to leave your side to enter the
crate, as shown in the bottom photo.
Review
Walk your dog into the kennel
and tap from two feet away.
Add the Kennel command.
Send your dog from two feet
away to the kennel.
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Week One
Day Two
The Formal Recall; Add Distractions; Kennel on Top
Objective 1 (new work) — Here around distractions
Training Distractions
Use sights, sounds,
and smells that will invite
your dog to disobey. Be
sure to include people
and animals.
Start your training session with review on the work Here, Heel, Sit, and
Kennel on the six-foot leash.
Attach the 15-foot line to your dog and give him an “OK” release.
Approach a distraction and allow your dog time to investigate and get
interested. In a normal tone of voice, call your dog “Here” and start
tapping. Remember to stop the tap as soon as he moves toward you.
If for any reason he should stop in route, resume tapping and repeat the command, Here.
People and animals, both new and familiar to your dog, make good distractions for recalls.
Objective 2 (new work) — Add Sit after the Here
From now on, whenever you formally command Here, have your dog sit in front of you when he
gets to you. As he is coming in, command and tap for Sit.
Praise him for coming when called and for sitting in front. Pause, and then command Heel as you
pivot 180 degrees in place and step off on your left foot to do some heeling before another recall.
After the first few sits in front on recall, start refining this sit-in-front position. Work to teach a close,
straight sit in front (remote sit) from the beginning. As your dog comes in, use your leash and body
language to guide him into a straight sit facing you. He should be sitting close enough that you could
pet him without stretching, yet he should not be touching you. If he tries to sit out of position, take
one step back as you command Here and begin tapping. Again, try to guide him into a straight sit in
front. You are not correcting for a poor sit — you are teaching or defining sit in front.
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Objective 3 (ongoing work) — Increased attention at Heel
Walk at heel toward one of your distractions. If your dog leaves your side to go to your distraction,
do an about turn and tap until he moves to return to heel. When your dog is paying attention and
you cannot catch him with your right-abouts, include right turns near distractions.
Be sure to work on Sit on command near your distractions.
Whenever your dog is so interested in a distraction that he doesn’t feel the e-tap or chooses to
ignore it, increase the intensity setting with every tap until he decides to obey. When he does, return
the intensity setting to the teaching level and continue training.
Objective 4 (ongoing work) — Introduce elevated kennel platform
Flip over the crate half and have your dog Kennel up on top of it. Most dogs seem to enjoy the view
from the elevation, but spend a few minutes and introduce this new kennel destination just as you
taught Kennel the first time.
Review
For Here, work around distractions;
add Sit to the recall.
Continue to work on Heel with Sit on
command at every stop. Heel around
distractions.
For Kennel, turn the crate over and
have your dog kennel onto the
elevated top.
Once your dog will kennel up you can introduce
many different targets for him to kennel on.
Keep the opening away from you when
working on top of the crate half.
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Week One
Day Three
Introduce the Finish;
Add Distance on Kennel
Objective 1 (new work) — Introduce Finish (your dog learns
to move to heel position from the remote front sit)
Now that your dog knows to come when
called and sit in front, we need to teach him
to move to heel from this remote sit position
on command.
There are two ways your dog can get to heel
from the remote sit. First, he can move
forward to your right and pass behind you,
ending at heel on your left. Alternatively, he
can move to your left and pivot, swinging
his rear wider than his head, ending up
facing forward sitting at heel.
Left or Right Side?
Many trainers teach
their dogs to heel and
run from the left only.
Some choose to run
dogs on both sides. If
you do, simply use the
mirror image of the
steps below to teach
finish to the right side.
If your dog finishes behind you as in the first method, he is out of
sight; some dogs will try to take advantage of this. Teach the
second method, the “swing” finish, and you will keep him in front
and in view at all times.
Teaching Step For The
“Swing” Finish Exercise
After praising him for coming when called, place the leash in your
left hand with a short grip, leaving no slack. Command Heel, begin
e-collar tapping, leave your right foot in place, and take a big step
back and out with your left foot as you sweep your left hand back
and away from your body. If you are standing on the center of a
clock facing 12, your step and arm sweep would be toward seven.
This step, the sweeping left arm signal, and the taps will move
your dog wide and behind you.
Do not pause after stepping
back. This should be one
smooth, two-step motion.
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Next, step forward and tap at the same time. As you do, pull the leash forward and into your body.
Your dog’s head should turn into you as he changes direction; your step forward will bring you
back to your original position. He is moving at heel so have him sit when he stops moving. Once he
is seated by your side, pause and then praise him before heeling off.
Objective 2 (ongoing work) — Increase the distance you send your dog to the kennel
Begin with a review by having your dog Kennel from two feet away. When your dog is working
smoothly at the two-foot distance, begin to send from a little farther each time. Continue to walk
toward the kennel and command and begin tapping at the same time, but stop tapping as soon as
your dog starts toward the kennel. If he stops on the way or fails to get up on the crate when he gets
there, repeat your command and resume tapping; don’t stop tapping until he is on the kennel.
Review
Introduce the Finish. Use the teaching step with sweeping arm signal.
Increase the distance you send your dog to the kennel.
— As you increase sending distance, stop tapping as soon as your
dog leaves your side.
— Your dog learns that moving toward the crate stops the e-collar tap.
Work on a long, light-weight line when sending your dog more than five or six feet to the kennel or place board.
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Week One
Day Four
Automatic Sit
Objective 1 (ongoing work) — Heeling around distractions; continue
teaching the Finish; increase the distance you send to the kennel
Your dog will learn new commands faster when distractions are not competing for his attention.
Then, once he knows a command, it is important that you train around distractions. If he will only
obey when there is nothing he would rather do, he is not really trained.
When you train with friends, you can be distractions for each other. One dog works on stay while another
practices heeling.
You can bring distractions to your training area or you can take your dog to the distractions. Begin
working your dog on all known commands around distractions. Gradually work closer to stronger
and stronger distractions.
As you increase the distance you send your dog to the crate, don’t be too quick to call
him off the crate. Mix up the ways you move him off the crate — sometimes go to the
crate and heel your dog off rather than calling him. He needs to learn to stay until you tell him
something different.
Kennel
Objective 2 (new work) — Teach Automatic Sit on the stop at heel
Since the Heel command was first introduced, every time you have stopped at heel you have placed
or commanded your dog to Sit. As a result he may have begun to sit automatically sometimes when
© PAT NOLAN METHOD: BASIC OBEDIENCE
17
you stop at heel before you can give the command. If so, he’s ready for you to drop your verbal
command to Sit on the stop. From now on, the only cue to sit when you stop at heel will be the fact
that you have stopped walking.
Now, stop at heel and pause to allow your dog time to sit. If he does, praise him and step off at heel.
If he doesn’t sit, begin tapping and then command Sit. Allow time for him to choose to sit, but once
you start the tap, tell him to Sit so he knows how to respond.
Review
Begin to work known commands around distractions.
Add the Automatic Sit.
Increase the distance you send to the crate.
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Week One
Finish on Command
Day Five
Objective 1 (ongoing work) — Heeling around distractions; Automatic Sit;
Increasing the distance you send to the crate to up to six feet
Send your dog to Kennel from a remote sit position. Until now, your dog has always
been in motion and facing the crate when you have sent him to Kennel, so start close.
Call him off the crate and have him sit facing you. Then step toward the crate as you command
Kennel and begin tapping. Stop tapping as soon as he turns toward the kennel. Repeat your
command and tapping if he does not follow through.
Kennel
Automatic
Sit
Begin to stop near your distractions. Practicing the Automatic Sit near distractions
will pay off in increased attention at heel.
Objective 2 (new work) — Finish on command
Drop
The Teaching
Step On The
Swing Finish
Call your dog Here to sit in front, praise him, and pause before giving the Heel
command. Keep the leash in your right hand and without moving, command Heel
and tap, tap, tap as you give your sweeping left hand signal. Stop tapping as soon
as he begins to move and when he gets into heel position, praise him.
If he fails to move on command or stops halfway through the motion, resume tapping and use your
instructional step (see Week One/Day Three) and leash to guide him into position. Do not stop tapping
until he gets to heel by your side.
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Week
Two
Sit-Stay; Left Turns at Heel
Objectives: By the end of week two your dog should be able to do a
one-minute Sit-Stay, and improved work on Heel, Here, Sit, and Kennel;
You will add the left turn for forging at heel
Sit-Stay
Objective 1 — One-minute Sit-Stay, on a slack six-foot
leash, near distractions
Using a place board can help teach the Sit-Stay. Your dog
should already be very comfortable waiting on his kennel.
Take a few minutes and introduce him to a place board. Make
a quick pass through all the same stages you used to teach the
Kennel command the first time.
Be proactive, not reactive, on the stays. Don’t wait for your
dog to break or leave the spot. When you see he’s about to
move, tap with the e-collar and repeat the command Sit.
He will learn much faster if you tap him to remain seated than
if he breaks the stay and is corrected back to Sit.
If he does get off the place board, use your leash or line to replace him. It is important that you return your dog to the same
place and that he be seated facing the same direction as before
he broke the stay. Tap to start him back and once again when
he is on the spot.
Give your signal before stepping off.
Objective 2 — 15-second Sit-Stay
Heel up to your place board and stop with your dog sitting on
it. After praising for a good Sit, command Stay, lower your left
hand, palm toward the dog, and stop and hold it in front of his
face. With your right hand holding the leash, snug it above and
a bit in front of your dog’s head. Pivot on the ball of your left
foot as you step across with your right foot. You should end up
facing your dog, standing about one foot in front. From this
position, most dogs will not try to break the stay. If your dog
tries to move, increase the tension on the line and tap and
command Sit.
Count to 15 and then reverse direction. Step back on your right
foot and when you are again in a heeling position, lower your
left hand, followed by your right. After a short pause, praise
your dog for this first stay. If he breaks from position —
Hold your stay signal in position in
taking your return, the relaxing of the leash, or your praise as a front for the first two days.
signal that his job is over — tap on Sit.
Do several of these each day mixed in with your work on the other exercises.
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© PAT NOLAN METHOD: BASIC OBEDIENCE
Week Two
Continued
Objective 3 — 30-second Stay three feet away
Stop at heel with your dog sitting on your place board. Give your stay signal with your left hand as
you command Stay. Now, drop your hand signal and the slack in the leash. Keep your thumb in the
hand loop so as not to lose control of the leash, and step off with your right foot. Take one step,
turn, and face him. Don’t ask your dog to hold the stay in this new situation any longer than he has
in the past. After 15 seconds return to stand at heel, pause, and then praise
Review is Key to
him for the good stay before you heel him off.
Learning
Starting each training
session with a review
keeps your dog’s
attention focused on
training and acts to
move newly acquired
skills from short-term
to long-term memory
areas in his brain.
If your dog takes the increased distance and the slack leash as an excuse to
move from the spot, correct him. Move in and guide him with the leash to
the place board, tapping as you go. When he is sitting on the board facing
the direction you left him, stop tapping and step back. Pause and have him
do a short stay so you can return and praise him.
Do several of these each day mixed in with your work on the other exercises.
Objective 4 — One-minute Stay
six feet away
From the heel, stop with your dog
on a place board. Give the signal
and command Stay. Drop the
slack in the leash but hold on to
the end of your leash, and step off
on your right foot. Walk out the
full six-foot length of the leash,
and turn and face your dog. Count
off 30 seconds, then return to
stand at heel by your dog’s side.
Pause and then praise him for
holding. After your pause,
command Heel as you step off on
your left foot.
After several 30-second stays at
After the first two days, drop the signal when you step off. Keep the
the new six-foot distance,
leash slack.
gradually increase the length of
time you are leaving your dog on
the stay. Build up to one minute from six feet by the end of the week.
People, Places,
And Things
Do some stays near distractions. Work in different areas and near people and
animals to make sure your dog understands that the Stay rules apply in
distracting situations.
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Left Turns at Heel
Objective 1 — Add left turn for forging at heel
Some dogs will heel just far enough forward that they will be in your way if you turn left, while
others will “heel by feel,” keeping body contact with your left leg so they don’t have to watch you.
A big left turn into your dog will correct both of these.
From the heel, pivot on your right foot and step off big on the left; e-tap when your leg is bumping
into your dog. The combination of your leg, the e-tap, and his realization that he needs to avoid that
turn will ensure that your dog doesn’t heel forward enough to be in your way.
Review
Sit-Stay
First two days: 15-second Sit-Stay, standing directly in front of the dog.
Third and fourth days: 30-second Sit-Stay, one step in front of your dog on a
slack leash; use distractions.
Fifth day: One-minute Sit-Stay on a slack six-foot leash; use distractions.
Left Turns at Heel
Add left turn for forging or crowding at heel.
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© PAT NOLAN METHOD: BASIC OBEDIENCE
Week
Three
Down; Kennel Into Car
Objectives: By the end of week three, your dog should Down on
command; Kennel from 10 feet away around distractions; and Sit-Stay on
the ground. Continue work on Heel, Here, and Sit.
Down
Objective — Down on command
Stop at heel. After praising for a good automatic sit, turn, kneel,
and face your dog. Hold a short grip on the leash with your left
hand and place your left forearm over your dog’s back at the
shoulders. With your right hand, reach behind the front leg and
take hold high up on the left leg, palm forward. Pull his legs
forward as you press down on his back and place your dog on the
ground — e-collar tap as you do. Praise him when he is down, then
stand and heel off.
When your dog is melting into down position, command Down as
you begin to place him. When he is downing quickly on command,
stop bending over to place him but be prepared to step in to back
up your e-collar tap with leash guidance if he doesn’t down on
command.
Begin Down-Stay as soon as your dog will down on command
with you standing, not bending over. He already knows Stay from
your work on Sit-Stay.
Some handlers will find placing
their dog to down on a table
easier than working with the dog
on the ground. The mechanics for
placing are the same.
Many dogs enjoy an elevated table for
stationary work.
Maybe they like the view.
© PAT NOLAN METHOD: BASIC OBEDIENCE
23
Kennel
Objective — Kennel into and out of the car
It can be dangerous for your dog to jump out of or into your car as soon as you open the door. Work
in a safe area away from traffic and use your Kennel and Sit commands to teach him to wait for
your direction to enter or exit your car.
Have your dog do some stays in the car where he will ride. It’s much easier and safer to teach him
to stay when you don’t have to watch traffic and drive.
Your dog knows Stay and Kennel. Teach him that the same rules apply around and in the car. Work
on a slack 15-foot line and e-collar tap on Sit for any break of stay or slow Kennel on command.
For his safety, do not allow your dog to bolt into or out of your vehicle.
Waiting
At Gates
And Doors
Do you find yourself passing through a gate or door only to have your dog charging
through at the same time? Teach your dog to wait at gates and doors. Have him
stay at the door and wait until you release him to enter. Use the Kennel command
at the door or gate to mean “enter”.
Practice opening and closing the door while your dog stays. Never allow him to charge the
entrance. If he does, stop him with your line and tap him back to the same place and position you
first left him.
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© PAT NOLAN METHOD: BASIC OBEDIENCE
Week Three
Continued
Here
Objective — Here on longer walks
Your dog should be reliable now on the recall or Here command. It’s time to incorporate this into
life outside the training pattern. Have your dog wear a 15-foot line and go for a walk in a dog-safe
outdoor environment. Allow him the freedom to explore and run about if he wants, but see that he
stays within a predetermined distance. Wide open areas permit greater freedom than wooded ones,
but for the first few walks keep him within 30 feet. When he exceeds this distance, call and tap him
to Sit in front. Mix in a few Stays after these recalls before releasing him with “OK.” You want him
to relax and enjoy the world around him but also be ready to answer to your command at any time.
Review
Place to down.
Down on command.
Start Down-Stay.
Begin to Kennel into and out of car.
Introduce Sit and Wait at doors and gates.
Long walks at liberty
— Your dog should wear the 15-foot line on these walks, longer if you think
you need it.
— Decide in advance how far you will allow your dog to wander from you
and then recall on command with tap every time he exceeds this distance
(I use 30 feet).
— Periodically call your dog to heel and have him do a short Stay before
resuming your walk.
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25
Week
Four
Polishing
There are no new commands to introduce this week, just polishing work on exercises your dog
knows. If you haven’t done so before now, make a special effort to work in several different areas
this week. Show your dog that his newly learned way of life is not restricted to one training field or
your back yard.
Review
Continue to polish the work on Heel, Here, Sit, and Finish.
Send to the crate from 15 feet away.
Sit-Stay on the ground
— Build to three minutes from 15 feet away on a long line; use distractions.
— On the six-foot leash, add physical examination by others, including
touching his feet, ears, and teeth.
Down-Stay
— Build to five minutes from 15 feet away on a long line; use distractions.
Continue to Kennel into and out of cars.
Continue Sit and Wait at doors and gates.
Long walks at liberty
— Periodically call to heel and do a short Stay before resuming walk.
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© PAT NOLAN METHOD: BASIC OBEDIENCE
The “Tap” Dance
Our goal is that our dogs respond reliably to command — not to the e-collar — off leash around
distractions. When teaching any command with your DOGTRA e-collar follow this sequence:
Teach the desired action — Your dog learns what you want him to do.
Tap and guide your dog into the desired response. Stop tapping as soon as your dog completes the action.
Add a command — Your dog learns when you want him to do it.
In this stage, continue to tap every time you give the command and stop when your dog begins to obey.
This rewards your dog every time he chooses to obey, and ensures the fastest learning.
However, if you continue to reinforce every command with the e-collar tap and then abruptly stop using the
tap for this command, your dog’s trained response will fade quickly. If you were to stop your work at this
point, your dog would be e-collar dependent. To prevent this:
Phase out the e-collar — Your dog learns to want to do what you want him to do.
Once the dog knows the proper response to a command and has many repetitions (several weeks of daily
training using the new command), begin to e-collar tap on every other command, then two in a row, then
every third, and so on.
By tapping on a variable schedule, your dog never knows which repetition of a command will be
reinforced, so he learns to work harder and faster even when you don’t tap. He becomes obedient to your
command, not the e-collar.
Finally, stop tapping on command and only tap for disobedience or refusals.
When your dog refuses a known command, never repeat the command without adding e-collar taps.
If your dog takes the absence of the e-collar tap or the presence of a distraction as an excuse to disobey a
known command, repeat the command and begin tapping.
If disobedience to a known command only results in another command, your dog is no more likely to
obey that command in the future.
During training, do not give any commands when your dog is not wearing the e-collar.
If you give commands when you are unable to control the results of your dog’s actions you are teaching
your dog that obedience to command is optional. Dogs aren’t naturally “collar wise” — they are taught that.
Congratulations! If you have worked through the program you have accomplished a
level of control over and freedom for your dog that few people ever know.
The end of the course is just the beginning of a whole new way of life for you and
your dog. In addition to periodic tune-up training sessions, remember to look for
ways to incorporate training into daily life outside the training session.
© PAT NOLAN METHOD: BASIC OBEDIENCE
27
Problem Solving
Dog-on-dog or dog-on-handler aggression can be
dangerous to address
Seek professional help; do not try to fix these
problems yourself
Find a professional with a track record of resolving
such issues
Dogs need exercise and mental stimulation
Many problem behaviors are a result of boredom. Your dog will enjoy the mental stimulation and
increased interaction with you that comes from basic obedience training. Additionally, games such as
Frisbee or retrieving a ball are good ways to exercise your dog and provide a healthy outlet for his energy.
It is easier to prevent a bad habit from forming than to correct it later
Some cute puppy behavior, such as tugging on your pants leg or sleeping on the couch, is not cute when
the pup is grown and weighs 60 lbs. Do not allow your pup to practice doing what you do not want him
doing when he is grown.
One excellent way to stop unwanted behavior is to train an incompatible action
For example, many dogs jump on people to greet them. You can correct the dog for jumping up, or you
can teach the dog to sit when he greets people. Teaching an action — sit on greeting — is positive;
correcting an action — jump up when greeting — is negative. During training, your dog will learn to
respond to both correction and encouragement from the e-collar, but it is always better to train a desired
action than to correct the undesired.
Decide if you want to teach stop doing or not do
If you command No or Out and begin tapping after your dog has started an unwanted behavior, you are
teaching your dog to stop doing the action on command. If you e-collar tap without command when the
action starts and then stop tapping when the action stops you are teaching your dog to not do the act.
Intermittent correction makes behavior particularly difficult to eliminate
Once you begin to correct an unwanted behavior, DO NOT allow your dog the opportunity to participate
in the action when you cannot correct him for it.
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© PAT NOLAN METHOD: BASIC OBEDIENCE
Guidelines for eliminating undesirable behavior
Set your e-collar at an intensity level you have found effective around distractions. Watch your dog and
when he begins an unwanted behavior, begin tapping on the continuous button and increase the intensity
setting if needed until your dog stops. Return the e-collar to your introductory setting and wait to see if
your dog will try again.
To eliminate jumping up on you
As soon as your dog jumps up on you turn to one side to deflect the jump as you begin tapping.
Stop tapping when your dog gets down. If it takes more than one or two taps to encourage your dog
to get down or if you have to repeat this lesson often, set your intensity level higher to start.
To eliminate jumping up on others
Arrange with a friend or friends to help you with this. Try to set this up so your helper can walk
from out of sight or from a short distance away. Walk toward your helper with your dog walking on
a slack line but not at heel.
Be prepared as you approach your helper. When you are almost close enough to shake hands give
your dog a Sit command and tap. Chat a bit, then walk away. Repeat this several times daily until
your dog takes the approach of others as a signal to sit and not an invitation to jump.
Next, set this up in your home. Enter the room with your dog on leash and walk toward your seated
helper. Command Sit as you tap when you get close to your helper. Vary this and occasionally have
your helper rise to greet you.
With repetition, your dog will take the approach or greeting of others as a signal to sit and not an
invitation to jump on them.
To eliminate unwanted chewing
Pups Need
To Chew!
Direct that chewing. Give your pup a few healthy chew toys. Do not allow your pup
access to items that you do not want him to chew. Crate your pup if you cannot
supervise him. Later when he has all his adult teeth, you can correct him for chewing
on unwanted items.
When You
Are Ready
To Correct
Your Dog
Leave the object of your dog’s chewing attention where he can get to it. Watch
unobserved by your dog if possible, and wait for him to begin chewing. The moment
your dog picks up the item, begin tapping. Your dog should spit the item out. If he
was slow to drop it, increase the intensity setting.
You may have to wait some time before your dog tries again. Every day for a week, provide
opportunities for your dog to chew when you can control the outcome of his attempts. Do not slip up
and allow your dog the chance to chew when you cannot watch him. Crate him to prevent him from
chewing if you are unable to remove the objects from his presence when you cannot watch him.
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29
To eliminate digging in the yard
Put your dog in the yard where he likes to dig. Watch unobserved. Make sure your e-collar is set at
a level you have found effective around distractions.
As soon as you dog begins to dig, begin tapping and increase the intensity setting while you tap
until your dog stops. Wait to see if your dog will try again.
Provide opportunities for your dog to dig every day for a week when you can watch him. Do not
allow your dog the chance to dig when you cannot correct him.
To eliminate unwanted chasing
The sight of something moving rapidly often invites a strong desire to give chase in dogs. This
chase or prey response is instinctual and very strong in some dogs.
Instinctual behavior can be hard to eliminate, so it is best to offer an outlet for the drive that is
healthy, such as flying disc or retrieving games, and tug toys.
To eliminate unwanted chasing, first make sure your dog is well schooled on the recall or Here
command. Find situations that will entice your dog to refuse to come when called. With lots of
repetitions, you will find an intensity setting that is right to persuade your dog to come when called
no matter what he sees or wants to chase.
Then work on a long line and set up situations where your dog will give chase. Try to find areas
where squirrels or other animals might dash by. Begin tapping and call as soon as your dog starts to
chase. Offer many opportunities when you can control the results of your dog’s attempt to chase.
If your dog likes to chase bicycles, have someone ride a bicycle past your dog. For safety, work
behind a fence and with your dog on a long line. As soon as your dog gives chase begin tapping and
call Here.
When your recall work on line has persuaded your dog he must obey even in the face of the
invitation to chase, you are ready for the next step.
Leave him in a yard or fenced area where you can watch him unobserved. Have your helper ride by
on the bike. As soon as your dog starts to chase, begin to tap; rapidly increase the setting if needed.
Repeat daily until your dog takes the passing of the bike rider as a signal to relax rather than pursue.
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