The Second Action - "Kennel" and "Whoa"

By Jim & Phyllis Dobbs and Alice Woodyard

In the last two articles we covered some basic principles for using the remote trainer in pointing dog training. We covered fitting the collar on the dog, selecting the right intensity level and the different types of equipment.

We also discussed introducing your dog to low-level electrical stimulation by teaching the first action of the Three-Action Introduction. In the first step, the dog learned to turn off low-level stimulation by bending toward you in the field and by responding to the "Here" and "Heel" commands.

If you haven't read Parts I and II of this series, we suggest you do so before going on to Part III. In Part III, we will continue your dog's "basic training" program. Remember, this program is called the "Three-Action Introduction" because the dog learns the strategy of turning off electrical stimulation by performing three different actions: coming towards you ("Here" and bending), going away from you ("Kennel"), and becoming stationary ("Whoa").

Introducing "Kennel"

Before you begin this action with the remote trainer, the dog needs to know some command that means he should leave your side. The most convenient command to use for this action is whatever command the dog already knows that means get into the truck or kennel. In this article we will use "Kennel" as that command.

Step 1-The dog learns to stay in a crate.

The place we've found that works best for most dogs is a large wire crate. You can easily run your rope through the back of it to guide the dog, and it is easy to move it to various locations.
Snap a rope to the dog's collar and run the other end of the rope through the back of the crate to a helper. If you don't have a helper, run the rope around a post and back to you. Have the dog enter the crate a few times so that he is familiar with it. Now leave him in it with the door tied open.

As soon as the dog steps out of the crate, press the bottom button and command "Kennel." As he re-enters the crate, release the button. Use the rope to guide him back into the crate if necessary. Praise him calmly when he is in the crate, and repeat this procedure several times until the dog will stay in the crate.

Step 2-The dog learns to turn off stimulation by entering the crate.

With the dog about six feet in front of the crate and you standing behind him press the low button and give him the command to get in his crate. Release the button as he steps into the crate. Use your rope to guide him in only if necessary. Praise him calmly when he is in the crate.

Remove the rope when the dog doesn't need its guidance any more and repeat the previous lessons. To get the dog to leave the crate, bring him out without using the collar. If you call your dog and he doesn't come, just walk back to him, reach in and lead him out.

Step 3-The dog learns to turn off stimulation by moving away from you on command.

Now gradually start farther away from the crate, until you are standing about 20 feet away. Start each repetition with the dog at your side. Press the low button and command the dog to get in his crate. Release the button as soon as the dog leaves your side.

If the dog stops part way to the crate, press the button again and repeat the command. Release it when he moves in the right direction.

The schedule for training the second action.

Spend at least a week on the second action. As with the first action, it is very important that you do these sessions in at least five different locations.

Make sure the dog truly understands how to turn off stimulation by moving away on command. At the end of each training session, include a refresher on commands used in the first action so that the dog does not get out of balance.

You should see the dog responding more quickly as he begins to understand that moving away from you on command will cause the stimulation to turn off. As the dog becomes quicker, you'll be holding the button down for a shorter time. This is your signal that it's time to begin giving the dog a chance to avoid stimulation completely if he obeys your first command. The dog should have reached this stage by the end of a week's work on "Kennel." So now give the command without using stimulation. Press the button only if you need to repeat "Kennel."

Introducing "Whoa"

Before introducing "Whoa" with the remote trainer, teach your dog what the command means by using your leash as a "suitcase handle" around the dog's flank, as shown in the photo. With the leash in this position, it is easy to teach the dog that "Whoa" means stand.

Once the dog understands "Whoa," place the remote trainer around the dog's flank with the contact points under his belly. Use only the No. 1 intensity plug when you first place the collar in this new position.

Step 1-Start with the dog in the standing position.

Put the dog on a leash and place him in the standing position without using any stimulation. Whenever he moves forward, press the button, command "Whoa," and step toward the dog. Use the leash to stop him from moving toward you. Release the button when he stops moving.
Move out to the end of the leash in front of the dog and gently tug on the leash to tempt the dog to move. Whenever he steps forward, press the button and command "Whoa." When you see the dog resisting your light tugs on the leash, praise him calmly for his correct decision and put slack in the leash. If the dog tries to sit or lie down, press the button and repeat "Whoa" as you guide the dog into the standing position.

After the dog will stand still, use a raised platform to teach him that creeping is not allowed. The platform should be raised a few inches off the ground and just large enough for the dog to stand on. The dog can readily identify the difference between right and wrong when he starts out on the platform, because as he creeps forward, he also steps off the platform.

Walk the dog up onto the platform and command "Whoa," without using stimulation. Position him so that his front feet are at the front edge of the platform. Move back to the end of your leash and give a tug to tempt the dog to step forward. Whenever the dog steps forward, press the button and hold it down as you walk the dog back onto the platform. Repeat "Whoa" and release the button.

As soon as the dog is no longer trying to sit or lie down, move the collar back to its normal position on the dog's neck and repeat the previous procedures. The dog will soon learn that "Whoa" means stand still and don't creep.

Step 2-Teach the dog to stop from motion.

Put the dog on a 6-foot leash and walk with him beside you. Without using the remote trainer, command "Whoa" and quickly step in front of the dog to block his forward motion. It is important to familiarize the dog with this new exercise before using the remote trainer.

After stopping the dog several times without using the collar, begin pressing the button as you give the "Whoa" command. Step in front of the dog to block him, and release the button when he stops. Then move to the end of the leash and gently tug on it. If the dog moves, press the button, repeat "Whoa," and step at the dog to make it easier for him to understand he is not to move forward.

Gradually phase out stepping in front to block the dog as you command "Whoa." The dog should learn to stop quickly when he hears the command "Whoa" even when you continue walking.

Remember, when the dog is stopping quickly, you should start to phase out using stimulation with each "Whoa" command. You should be able to accomplish this after about five sessions on the command "Whoa." Once you have phased out using stimulation with the first command, only use stimulation if you must repeat the command.

The schedule for training the third action.

Spend at least a week on the third action, working in at least five different locations. Most training sessions should include practice on some of the commands used in the first and second actions to keep the dog in balance.

When you see the dog responding quickly to the "Whoa" command to turn off stimulation, you can begin giving him a chance to avoid stimulation completely if he obeys your first command. From now on, just command "Whoa" without using stimulation, and press the button only if the dog moves after being told "Whoa." A dog is usually ready to make this transition by the end of a week of practice on "Whoa" with stimulation.

Coming in the next article...

In the next article we will cover stopping to flush and honoring.

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