Thursday, August 9, 2018

Foundation Skills (not obedience)


According to a new study, both domesticated dogs and one species of wild dog do a better job than human beings and chimpanzees of ignoring bad instructions and eliminating unnecessary steps when trying to solve a problem. It’s a difference that says a lot about the social order of all of the species.

Dogs are more efficient learners than you think. In this seminar you will learn how dogs think, how to train them knowing this and what skills they actually need to live actively and easily in our human world.

Foundational skills are the fundamental, portable skills that are essential to conveying and receiving information that is critical to training and real world success. These skills are fundamental in that they serve as a basis—the foundation—for supporting additional behaviors/tasks and learning. They are portable because, rather than being task specific, they can be applied at some level across a wide variety of behaviors.


Dogs who develop these skills have enhanced understanding of and are more responsive to the human world. Navigating the often confusing and inconsistent rules that humans create, knowing how to adapt instinctive and evolutionary behaviors to living with humans compatibly and working as a team with other animals in the home and the humans are all examples of using foundational skills.

Foundational skills are also necessary to learn more task-specific knowledge and skills. This is true across sports, social encounters, service and even protection. For example, both service dogs and protection dogs must understand when waiting is more appropriate then moving. Agility dogs have much less chance of injury and their speed through the course is increased from knowledge of their body parts and how they move.


Dog training is a lifelong process, but some skills have more effectiveness than others in living life with humans. Helping your dog master these skills lays the foundation and prepares your dog for a lifetime of good behavior and companionship. Whether you just brought home a puppy, adopted a shelter dog, or want to ensure your older dog maintains his sociability throughout life, these are the absolute most important skills to teach your dog (and yourself).



The Skills

1. Self Control
2. Impulse Control
3. Similarities and Differences (those are all tables/chairs and those are not)
4. The Basics as applied to living in a human world
5. Loose Leash Walking
6. Come Here
7. Targeting (touch that and go right there)
8. Distance doesn’t matter, the human still rules
9. Door chores (don't dash out that door)
10. Handling Distractions (preventing reactivity and environmental fear)

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