Training The Go Out Command

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Training The Go Out Command

by Michael Russell

The ability for the dog to respond to the command of the handler to "go out" is an important aspect of several different utility dog functions. Not only is it important for a "marked" retrieve for a field trial dog, you will find this is the basis for the "dropped retrieve" and also for the "take and carry" for the water rescue trials of both Newfoundlands and Portuguese Water Dogs and it is also the basis for several functions of the search dog. Furthermore, an assistance dog must be able to respond to many commands, which presume that the dog already knows the go out command.

Reviewing the "clicker" training technique, it consists of clicking a clicker to remind the dog that he is doing something right. (The dog has already learned that the sound of the click means that sometimes he will receive a treat.) The reward must be variable. In other words, the treat will sometimes be given and sometimes not.

The first part of the training simply must teach the go out away from the handler. For the clicker trainer, the approach is simple. Take a rope or a dowel and lay it out on the floor of your living room or kitchen. Set your chair at least ten feet away from the dowel or "marker" on the floor. Bring your dog into the room and find your clicker and take your seat. Have a supply of treats handy.

If your dog is trained to respond to a penlight or laser light, you will also want to have this ready. With the laser light, what you will be doing is pointing the laser beyond your marker and "clicking" the dog each time the dog steps beyond that marker. You will "click" each time he does leave your side and go out over that artificial line you have drawn with your dowel or rope.

If you do not have a dog that will respond to the laser light, you will want to click the dog each time he wanders over the dowel and never at any other time. If he responds to a laser light, you can use the light to lure him over the rope or dowel. What you are training at first is simply a reward each time he leaves your side and goes away from you a certain distance. Some dogs will immediately pick up on this and in no time at all they will stay beyond the limit of the rope and you will need to call them back to you so that you can "click" a go out response.

The second part of the training of the go out is to train the corresponding command and visual signal. As soon as the dog does begin to stay out beyond the marker point, you need to combine the silent click that you have so far been using with the command word that you will use for the "go out" and combine this at the same time with the hand signal that you will use. Most handlers have found that a straight out pointing of the entire arm in the direction that they want the dog to go, combined with the sharp command "Out" or "Away" is the easiest to train. Search dog handlers often use the term "this way" so that the dog will respond to this command while gridding an area.

In the case of any A.K.C. test or trial there are specific hand signals, visual cues, or verbal commands which must be given. For the utility or assistance dog or the search dog, the type of command or verbal signal is completely up to the handler.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Dog Training

Michael Russell - EzineArticles Expert Author

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