WELCOME TO WEEK 3! ALL ABOUT FOCUS AND ITS PROOFING
When putting this course together I toiled a bit over the order in which some of the information would be laid out over the 5 week period. Any good program starts from the ground up. And while the order makes sense, and allows for you to systematically build on skills as you move forward - making the learning process relatively easy for both handler and canine - this week, and the following week on 'Head Position' could have easily been swapped. Meaning that this week's subject area could have been head position while next week's topic of study 'Focus and Proofing.' And after mulling it over I decided it didn't matter. Both skills are critical to our foundation heeling program.
What I want to make note of, however, is that there is a close interplay between the material covered in this week and that which is covered in next. The skills support each other, and work in a way that proficiency in one lends strength to the other - as in any good system. The work you do in this week will create an ease in learning for next week's. The skills laid out in the next two weeks are skills we spend ample time on; ones which we break down finely and proof comprehensively. Let's get started.
One of the most beneficial behaviors we can encourage in our dogs from a very young age is for them to focus on us. Earning your dog's attention at anytime, in any context, is a skill we should work hard to build and maintain for the life of our companion. Not only is it necessary within our competitive training relationship with our dog, it has critical value in everyday life, allowing us to do and experience more.
This chapter focuses specifically on eye contact, and the initial training steps toward building strong, confident, and clear focused eye contact from your dog. Through games and thoughtful approximation, we can start building a foundation for vigilant eye contact at a very early stage in the education process of our dog.
Dogs should now be well versed and conditioned to their markers as well as have beginning pieces of a sit-stay.