In the first lesson of this Directional Series I will be talking about the foundations for how I teach my Out cue.
Out for my dogs means for them to move away from me, or take the obstacle furthest from me.
I like to begin with teaching an Out using cones, but you can start with a hoop as well.
First, like all your cues, you need to define what an Out cue means to you. As well as what your body language and verbal cue look like for your cue.
Because Out for me means for my dog to move away from me or take the obstacle furthest from me, I will start my Out foundations with a cone, and asking my dog to go to the far side of the cone.
The video above shows some beginning cone work with Ally. I am trying to really focus on using my lower body/feet to show her the path I want her to take around the cone.
To start, you can use either a toy or treats. I like to use a toy, as it can be easier to toss a toy to the dog to reward.
I want to take a step toward the dog with the leg closest to the dog, as I step toward the dog I will give my verbal cue “Out”. As my dog starts to move, I will toss the toy, or the treat to the far side of the cone.
I will continue working with this single cone, varying my handling positions (but always making sure my body language and verbal is clear. Do not put yourself in a handling position that would be an actual “Out”) I want to add distance to my cone to help proof my Out as well as build confidence in my dog for their Out cue.
Once I have proofed and built confidence with my dog on a single cone with their Out cue, I will start adding more cones. The videos above show working with Ally and Wall-E on multiple cones.
The above video shows examples of using multiple cones and includes a voiceover explaining what I am doing in the video clip.
Before I consider moving on to adding other pieces of equipment, I first want to make sure that my dog has full confidence in their understanding of the Out cue.
I will build my dogs confidence and clarity in the cue by continuing to proof my cone with with various handling positions as well as increasing distance.
Because I have built such a strong foundation for the Out cue, I can start bringing in other pieces of equipment and transferring my cue to those as well. I like to start with hoops, and then start incorporating the other pieces of equipment.
The biggest thing to keep in mind with teaching Out, or any directional cue, is confidence. Your first priority should be building your dogs confidence in that skill. Proof that skill with varying handling positions, and adding distance. If you take the time to really proof and build your dogs confidence at this foundation level, it will pay off down the road.