The K9 Companion class began as an entry level training course for dogs that are 6 months or older. The concepts, however, can be used for all ages of dogs including puppies. The class introduces you to reward-based training techniques that will help you communicate to your dog a basic vocabulary of commands and will strengthen the bond you have with your dog to help make him or her a better house companion. Please review all the weeks because information in latter weeks make be useful immediately. Certainly there are various sequences in which the exercises may be taught and you should do what works best for you and your K9 Companion.

The “Keep Going” Cue

The KEEP GOING signal is a way to say: “you're doing it right……. keep on doing it…….do it again”. It comes AFTER the behavior you’ve asked for is reached and says to continue that behavior. It’s a different word for "keep going, you're on the right track, but I'm not going to give up the goody yet", and "woohoo (YES), you did great, here's the toy/food".

So, you’re teaching your dog to SIT. You say SIT, your dog’s butt hits the floor and you say YES and then the reward is given. But you want your dog to stay longer in the SIT position so you slowly extend the time before you say YES and release him. As you extend the time you want to say something sort of drawn out to keep him focused on the job at hand. The word GOOD said slowly and drawn out can be that word. Your dog will learn that GOOD means KEEP GOING and eventually you may even add VERY good.

What you don’t want to do is chat with your dog. “You’re a very good boy sitting there with your butt so nicely plopped on the floor and if you hold that position for a bit you’ll get rewarded eventually.” Do you know what your dog hears? Blah… blah blab….blah blah…blah blah…. And this isn’t telling him anything.

Think back to when you played the hot and cold game as a child. It was not that you just had "yes" and "no" but there was other information given. You may have been told, in addition to hot or cold, warmer, warmer, warmer…. The more information that was given the easier and less frustrating it was for the child searching. Hot can be compared to YES you did it right (you found it) and NO can be compared to colder which is a definite piece of information saying you’re heading in the wrong direction or doing the wrong thing. And GOOD can be compared to KEEP GOING, you’re headed in the right direction and if you continue you will get what you want..

Every command or cue you give your dog that you want them to continue doing it for an extended period of time can make use of this “keep going” signal. Examples in addition to sit are down, stand, walk, stay, wait, etc. Or if you decide to do more advanced training, GOOD can tell your dog that looking you in the eye while your heeling is the picture you want.

Click here for a printable version of this page.