K9 Dog Training Fundamentals

As your dog is learning new ways and new things, us humans also must learn how to better communicate with our dogs. The training we have provided here at K9 League has laid a great foundation from where you and your dog will build a lifetime bond. This handbook will help you understand not only the how, but the why of the training. Training your dog doesn’t stop with us, it is the first step!


Prong Collar
The prong collar should have a snug fit to be most effective. We have sized and fit the prong for you, so you don’t have to worry about it.

You will only be using the prong when you take your dog out on leash (for a walk, to the car, etc) — at all other times, it will remain off the dog. On walks, the prong will go above the E-collar, right behind the ears, under the jaw.

Make sure it does not get twisted when you put it on! The leash clips to the swivel D-ring on the prong. The carabiner attaches to the non-swiveling O-Ring on the prong, and then goes over the E-collar strap to affix to the flat buckle collar (the collar with the tags). Make sure that the carabiner goes UNDER the chain with the leash attached, not over, as that would affect the action of the prong.

The video below will give you a good idea of properly using and fitting the prong collar for future use:


E-Collar (for off leash program dogs only)
The E-Collar should be a snug fit. We have sized, fit, and marked the collar for you!

The E-Collar will be worn whenever you are home supervising, and on the walks. When you are not home, and your dog is in the crate, the E-Collar will come off. It can be charged at that time, if you like. On walks, the E-Collar goes right below the prong collar, above the flat collar (with the tags), and the carabiner on the prong affixes to the flat buckle collar over the E-collar strap.

Please refer to your E-collar guide for help on how to plug it in/charge it, where the box should be on the neck, how often to move the box around, how to turn it off/on, the modes, etc. Everything on the E-Collar guide is very important.


Thresholds
Your dog will wait at all thresholds — car doors, front doors, gates, going into the crate, etc. We want him tuned in and focused on you, not on his excitement or anticipation of going into the car/out of the house/for a walk, etc. We cannot stress enough how important this is to setting the tone for the rest of your relationship and life together!

The following video shows one of my great mentor trainers, Sean O’Sean, in a great example of how thresholds work. Note that your dog has already gone throughout the training process of this exercise, and will most likely just need reminders — you can see the final product (where your dog should be) at around time 7:10 and on:


Feeding
Your dog should be waiting for the release command “Break” from you before eating their meal — not jumping the gun, or shaking you down as you prepare it.

You should have your dog in a down, or a sit, and the food will be placed in front if him. Wait for good eye contact before you give the release command “Break”.

The following video is an example of how Waiting for Food works. Note that your dog has already gone throughout the training process of this exercise, and will most likely just need reminders — you can see the final product (where your dog should be) at around time 6:00:


Crate
Unless we tell you otherwise, your dog will be sleeping in the crate, and in the crate when you are not home to supervise. All tools (E-collar, Prong collar) will come off when your dog is in the crate. You can add bedding, etc, but be cautious that your dog is not inclined to ingest it. Also, watch for cords, etc, outside of the crate that could be pulled in and chewed on/destroyed.

The following video is an example of how Crate works. Note that your dog has already gone throughout the training process of this exercise, and will most likely just need reminders.


Recall
Recall is calling the dog to you. The recall command is “(Dog’s Name), Come!”

As soon as your dog is in motion toward you, you can use the verbal marker “Good” to let your dog know that he is doing the right thing. This isn’t an over-effusive “GOOD!!!” as this will likely amp your dog up and make it harder for him to concentrate and complete the behavior.

• If your dog hears you, but does not come, you will pop the E-collar / Prong collar and repeat the command “Come”. Once your dog is in motion and interacting with you, you don’t have to use their name every time for the command — just “Come” will do. Think of using their name as an attention-getter to get them started.

PLACE / DOWN
Your dog is trained to go to his place mat, on your command, and stay there until released. This is pretty useful when you need him to stay in one place, when visitors are in the house, or when you just need your own break!

• The command is “Place” — you will say it when your dog is about one foot from the place mat not when he is already on it.
• Down can be anywhere — you do not need a place mat/bed. This can be used outside or inside, anywhere of your choosing. You can also put your dog in a down on the place mat if he doesn’t do it automatically.
The command is “Down” — you will say it when your dog gets all the way to your feet, not when he is in motion.


Using the Recall to a Command (Place or Down)
If you are calling your dog to Place, do the following:
• Stand behind the place mat/bed — make sure you are close enough to it that the dog doesn’t want to overstep it and come to you — remember this: your body is a magnet!
• Make sure you are standing up straight, not using body cues, pointing, making other sounds, etc to call your dog or get him in Place/Down.
“(Dog’s Name), Come!” — Recall your dog
• If your dog hears you, but does not come, you will tap the E-collar and repeat the command “Come”
• As soon as your dog is in motion, give the calm verbal marker (“good”)
• If your dog starts to veer directions, or slows down/gets distracted when coming to you, say the command “Come” and tap the E-collar
• If your dog makes a blatant move away from you, in another direction: Say “No”, press the E-collar, and give the recall command again “Come”

*Remember! Do not get caught up on the number — the number is irrelevant. Just watch your dog. The level on the collar will change depending on the intensity of the situation — the higher the distraction level, the higher the E-Collar level.

PLACE: About 1 foot before the Place mat/bed, say the command
• If your dog overshoots (goes past the Place mat/bed) or skirts it, tap the E-collar and repeat the command “Place”
• If your dog goes too far away from the place, recall him again and say Place when he’s closer to the mat/bed
• Use your body as a magnet — if your dog goes behind you, take a step over to the other side of the mat and call him/say “Place”
• If your dog does not lie down on the Place mat/bed, give the command “Down”
• If you are putting your dog in a Down, do the following:
Stand right where you would like your dog to lay down, “Dog’s Name, Come!”– Recall your dog.
If your dog hears you, but does not come, you will pop the E-collar
“Good” — As soon as your dog is in motion, give the calm verbal marker
• If your dog starts to veer directions, or slows down/gets distracted when coming to you, say the command “Come” and pop the E-collar
• If your dog makes a blatant move away from you, in another direction: Say “No”, tap the E-collar, give the recall command again “Come”.
Remember! The level on the collar will change depending on the intensity of the situation — the higher the distraction level, the higher the E-Collar level
“Down” — As soon as your dog gets to your feet (not while he is in motion), say the command
If your dog doesn’t lie down right away, pop the button and repeat the command “Down”

Please check out the following video with a dog working at our place:

Watch this several times, noting and practicing the tone, timing, and cadence of our commands. It is important that you are familiar with this before you work with your dog on the E-collar!


Walk
The walk is a structured leadership conversation between you and your dog. Use 90/10 rule on the walks — 90% of the time, dog is walking in a structure heel; 10% released out on a longer leash to potty/sniff — you can use “Break”, “Go Potty” or anything else that you use. No sniffing, marking, targeting/staring at other dogs, or pulling to trees unless you give your dog this command.

No dogs should ever meet other dogs on leash — you never know about the other dog -even if you feel like that dog seems mellow/safe. Dogs trapped on the leash is the quickest way to cause tension and a negative interaction — if this goes down, your dog could end up distrusting you and other dogs. Your First Month Post-Board and Train


Working around the house
When your dog is inside the house, for the first month, he will always be in command — no free wandering or roaming! We will discuss your specific dog in the session, in regards to play. He will either be in a Place or Down, of your choosing, and will not move unless he is either recalled (“Spot, Come!”), or being released for free time (“Break!”). We cannot stress this enough!

Remember! This is a strict way to live with your dog, and by no means the way that we want you to live with him forever! This is a means to an end — it is simply the first month of you renegotiating your relationship and how you live with him — we will check in after 30 days and see how things are going, and see where we can turn the thermostat down.

For 30 Days:
– Your dog will be in command at all times (Place/Down), unless on the walk, in the crate, or having supervised play time. There will be absolutely no free wandering or roaming!
E-Collar is on at all time when your dog is being supervised — put it on inside the crate, first thing, before he comes out of the crate. Take it off at night/when he is the crate.
– Your dog sleeps in the crate, and is in the crate whenever unsupervised.
– Waits for food until released with command “Break”
– Waits at all thresholds, including going in and out of the crate
– Is either on “Place” or in a “Down” when you are home doing regular activities — choose, Place/Down that are challenging for the dog, i.e. further away from you, not right beneath your feet.
– “Sit” — use on the walk at curbs, thresholds, waiting for food. “Sit” means stay in the sit until told otherwise — once put into a sit, dog cannot pop up from the sit until released.
“Come” is the recall command — use to call him out of the crate, calling to and from command (Place/Down), from the backyard/play time, etc.
“Break” is release command — means dog is allowed to move out of position, is free. You can use before releasing for food, outside for playtime, or anytime you are relieving him from command
“Let’s Go” is used through the thresholds, coming out of the crate, coming out of a car, and anywhere else where your dog isn’t in a specific heel.
“Heel” — your dog’s head is parallel to your hip, or a little behind you. You will always use it on the walks. Although it may not seem like much, being meticulous about this position, and enforcing it diligently, is absolutely essential to having a successful walk experience.
The majority of the training benefit will not come from active commands, but much more so from remaining in one position (duration exercises) for extended periods of time, while the world goes on around him!


We know that all this information may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but like all good habits, once you put it into practice for a few days, it will become second nature.