(Beginners) Practical Pet Dog Training Level 1 Course Outline

We understand that your priorities are probably to teach your dog to walk nicely on the lead, come when called in the park, be sociable and under control when meeting people, and to settle down at home. These are the priorities in this course.

Course Outline

Week One

  • Getting your dog’s attention
  1. Rewarding eye contact
  2. Using your dog’s name
  3. Using “watch”
  • What to do in a group class
  1. Understanding your dog’s and other dogs’ need for space
  2. Rewarding calmness
  3. The importance of rewarding eye contact in class
  • Three stages of teaching your dog to sit
  1. Go into the sit position
  2. Remain sitting for longer
  3. Don’t get up until released
  • Teaching your dog to lie down
  • The importance of “The Release”

Week Two

  • The Long Down
  1. Go into a down position
  2. Extend the length of time your dog will lie down for
  3. Don’t get up until released – how to release your dog from lying down
  4. How to use The Long Down at home or out and about
  • Impulse control
  1. Teach your dog to leave food until given permission to eat
  2. Introducing a controlled tug game using “get it” and “off”
  3. Using a tug game as a reward
  • An introduction to coming when called
  1. The Simple Come and Sit
  • “Gotcha!”

Week Three

  • How to “meet and greet” people in a variety of social situations
  1. Sit to say hello
  2. How to greet and pat a dog – and how not to
  • Introduction to walking on a loose lead
  1. How to hold the lead – different ways for different circumstances
  2. Three different levels of control
  • close and attentive
  • relaxed but controlled
  • most relaxed
  1. The desirable position for your dog to be walking
  2. Rewarding your dog for being in the correct position
  3. Going anticlockwise around a chair
  4. Moving from chair to chair

Important tip: teach your dog to walk on lead before going for a walk – why dogs get massively rewarded for pulling on lead – how to avoid this common pitfall – use of the left circle technique.

Week Four

  • Further development of walking on a loose lead
  1. Walking around the circles of chairs
  2. When to reward
  3. Use of food, praise, play with a toy and release to have a sniff – all are rewards
  • How to “meet and greet” another dog
  • Brief interaction with other dogs in a group
  1. Release your dog when he or she is settled.
  2. When and how to interrupt your dog
  3. Sit your dog to interrupt play
  4. Teach your dog to sit at a distance

Week Five

  • Further development of coming when called
  1. Getting your dog’s attention from a distance
  2. When to use your dog’s name
  3. When to introduce the cue to “come”
  4. The importance of reward and release
  • Further development of walking on a loose lead
  1. No longer relying on the chairs
  2. Using the left circle or U-turn
  3. When to reward
  4. When to release
  • Combining walking on a loose lead with “meeting and greeting” – sit to say hello

Week Six

  • Teaching your dog to wait as a default behaviour
  1. Going through a doorway with you
  2. Coming in through the door
  3. Getting out of the car
  • Practicing settling down, walking on lead and coming when called with distractions.
  1. Using the “Three Rotations” group exercise

After you have done this course, you may go on to Level Two, a 4-week continuation class.

2 Responses to (Beginners) Practical Pet Dog Training Level 1 Course Outline

  1. Sandra Drogmiller says:

    Have been a trainer for 40+ years. Many years ago I taught 4H. Its nice to see that many of the things I taught are still being taught to young trainers.


    • Thanks for your comment, Sandra. Not sure about young trainers though. I am an older trainer who is trying to pass my knowledge on to younger trainers. Practical pet training is happening more often these days, although some people seem to think it is really simple, and that Obedience,i.e. competition is more important. However, the Obedience ring is predictable. Training a dog to be reliable in the complex, unpredictable real world environment that pet dogs are taken out in is far more challenging, in my opinion.


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