Instructor: Shade Whitesel
This class expands on two essential skills started in Toys: Building Cooperation and Play-- working in arousal and switching reinforcement. (You can also get the exact same toy skills through the two Drives and Control classes or the orginal IPO Fundamentals classes.)
We add obedience to the toy games and work on verbal fluency of both dogs and handlers with the location dependent marker words, cutting out the reliance on physical body signals. Since toys bring arousal and excitement to the dog/handler interaction by it's very nature, we're practicing impulse control and obedience within exciting circumstances.
The second concept, switching reinforcement, is at work when dogs have obvious preferences of reinforcement. For most dogs, chasing squirrels is far superior to taking a cookie and doing obedience around said squirrel. We'll explore the use of toys and food, and explore the concept of "take the reward you are given" instead of the one you want, with specific exercises.
As a bonus behavior, you also get to work on teaching your dog an “off” switch, a nice long down stay.
Dogs and handlers in this class at the Gold and Silver level are expected to have taken the previous toy class and to have mastered most, if not all of the skills in that class. You will get the most out of this class if your dog already has an idea of how to switch reinforcement (covered in Drives 1 and Toys) and knows most of the marker words in the dictionary (Drives 2 and Toys.).
This class is not appropriate for dogs that do not have much toy drive or have not reached the stage of adding obedience to the tug and fetch games.