FE450: Training Levels - Level 1

Instructor: Sue Ailsby

Course Details


 If you're looking for a structured course designed to teach your dog the basic skills that every dog needs to know for success as a pet, sport or working dog, or all three, then this course is for you.  This class will teach the trainer "how to teach," and how to prepare your dog to perform under increasingly challenging circumstances.  

Sue Ailsby's Training Levels are being used by pet trainers, sport instructors, and working dog schools all over the world. Now you can let Sue guide you through them!

The training levels are designed to create a training base for ALL dogs. There are four Levels with behaviours designed to teach both dog AND trainer. Every lesson supports later lessons, with early behaviours taught, diversified, and proofed to provide a solid foundation for all later lessons, be they pet, sport, or working behaviours.

The focus of this course is not only the actual behaviors taught; the core is teaching YOU how to ensure that your dog can still perform under distracting conditions and when the "picture" looks different.  We'll take a variety of basic behaviors (which we'll teach for those who need them and expand for those who have them) and teach you how to get them under a wide range of circumstances.  In a nutshell, proofing and generalization!

No matter what the future has in store for your dog, there are basic skills that will make both your lives easier, if your dog can perform them reliably under a variety of circumstances.

For example, a good pet needs to know how to be handled, to be groomed and cared for. She needs to come when she's called, to park herself on a dog bed and stay there while you eat or have visitors. She needs to ride calmly in a car, to stay away from your food, and...a few tricks to impress your friends wouldn't hurt either.

In addition, a good pet trainer needs to know how to apply the principles of training to new problems that crop up.

A good sport or working dog needs to be able to handle distractions, to stay focused on her performance, and to quickly and cheerfully learn new skills as you progress through the levels of your chosen sports 

This class is the "correct" choice for almost anyone who wants to develop their dog to her fullest potential; regardless of future career path!



School? Already? Will that be fun?


Oh my yes, little one! You have no idea how much fun we're going to have!



Next session starts: April 1, 2017
Registration starts: March 22, 2017
Registration ends: April 15, 2017

Available as pre-requisite purchase at this time.


WARNING: this class starts easy, for dog and for trainer. It STAYS easy for both - but it does take more time as it goes along!



- dog moves away from treat in No hand

- dog stays away from treat in No hand for 5 seconds

- dog stays away from treat in open hand for 5 seconds

- dog stays awy from treat in dog dish

- increasing duration, difficulty, duration, distance



- dog looks for treats at trainer's feet

- dog runs 10 feet between two people

- dog plays the Come Game 10 feet between two people

- dog plays the Come Game 20 feet between two people

- dog plays the Come Game 10 feet between two people for different rewards



- dog sits with leash off

- dog sits on hand signal

- dog sits with leash on

- dog sits by open door

- dog sits with no treats on trainer



- dog's nose to Yes hand

- dog targets high and low

- dog moves 3 steps to target 

- dog touches twice for one treat

- Station or the Bucket Game



- dog downs with leash off

- dog downs on hand signal

- dog downs on mat

- dog goes to mat to down

- adding duration, difficulty, duration, and distance to mat downs



- dog is rewarded in The Zone

- dog moves away from collar pressure

- dog and handler move 3 steps away from collar pressure

- dog walks 3 steps with turn

- dog walks towards focal point



You'll need a pup or dog, or a cat or horse, llama or bird, or any other animal that will work for food. How soon can you start a puppy? I'd give her a couple of days to settle in to your house after you get her, so that makes it about 8.5 weeks. If you're using a homebred pup, you can start at 6 weeks.


And you'll need a desire to teach that critter to be as prepared as possible for the life you want her to live, whether that be as a pet, a sport dog, a working dog, or all three. 


Friends and/or family. If we want our dogs to work around other people, we need to teach them around other people. Many times other people won't even have to know we're using them. Other times, we'll need their cooperation to play different games with us.


A clicker if at all possible. You CAN use your voice if you have to.


Treats. The smallest treat the dog will pay attention to. No, not a Milk-Bone. Roast beast. Hot dogs. Commercial treats. Cheese. Liverwurst. No spices, please.


Places to train. Most training in Level 1 will be in and around your house.


A leash and a buckle collar, or a PLAIN harness.


A slightly raised mat of some kind, a dog bed, a folded blanket, or flat cushion.


A video camera if you're signing up for Gold - and highly recommended for Silver and Bronze as well so you can watch your videos and see things you missed the first time around - or see how brilliantly you're doing. Most cell phone cameras will do nicely.


You'll also need a variety of household objects. Nothing special, we'll use what's available.

Course Testimonials

Brand New Course April 2016

Please refer to the instructor bio page for sample testimonials from other courses she has taught.

Training Levels were originally developed by Sue Ailsby in 2000 and were rewritten in 2010 for pet, working and dogsport trainers.   This topic is new in Sue's teaching lineup for FDSA and many students are thrilled she will be addressing these "famous" teachings through online lessons.  

Samples of student reactions upon announcement of this class:

Wouldn't it be wonderful is Sue taught ALL the levels over time!!! I'm currently taking her FDSA Rally Skill Building class and it's amazing. She's the most gifted and encouraging teacher I've ever experienced in any discipline.  - Lynn

This is great news. My dogs are all mostly thru level 2, but I will do a bronze level 1 just for fun and to get ideas for 'come afters'. And for the humor. - Juanita 

From the training levels books I've learned splitting and shaping, the all important comeafters and so much more; one of the foundations for everything else I am learning from all the other excellent FDSA classes. . On my own I have taken five (5) dogs through Level 1, now working on Level two and Level 3. I cannot wait for this class as I am sure there will be "holes" to fix and then we will have an even stronger foundation.             
If you're going to do Levels, definitely start at the beginning no matter how much the dog "knows" already. I've taught classes based on levels for years and it provides an amazing foundation for anything and will show you where holes in your current training are.             
I am over the moon that Fenzi has added Sue Ailby's Training Levels to the course offerings! Can it get any better than this?
OMG YES!!!! Many years ago I printed up EVERYTHING from her website, all the levels. Such awesome material.
I am so excited that Sue has agreed to teach a Training Levels 1 class starting April 1 at FDSA (Fenzi Dog Sport Academy). Woot woot!!!!  Hurray!!!