Instructor: Laura Waudby
Team 3!! This is where the real fun begins as you start to chain together the little pieces you learned in levels 1-2. Now the dog gets to really move and you can start to see real glimpses of the final behaviors.
This is a skills class focusing specifically on the behaviors that make up TEAM level 3.
The syllabus has the basic exercises included, but please visit the TEAM site for more information on the program:
While the skills in this class are focused on TEAM3, they are foundation behaviors that will give you an excellent preparation for any dog sports venue such as AKC, CKC, or FCI obedience.
There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.
Registration will begin at 11:30 AM Pacific Time.
For answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.
Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited.
Silver level for this class is offered as "Working Silver". In addition to asking GENERAL clarification questions about the class lecture materials, silver students will now have the opportunity to submit two short videos, one minute each, for critique and review. You may submit two questions. Each question MUST have a one minute video attached so the instructor can actually answer a question that they can see. The question must relate to a topic in the class and the video must be a demo of the question. Please see the discussion forum for a detailed explanation - feel free to sign up at bronze, read the explanation, and then come back here to upgrade to silver if that interests you, and if space is available.
If you are interested in a bronze level subscription, you can sign up at any time during the registration period.
This is a skills based class with the goal of getting dogs started on all of the TEAM level 3 exercises. It will also further the foundations for handlers wanting to compete in AKC, CKC (and other organizations) obedience trials
Dogs will not be able to complete all of the exercises in 6 weeks. Gold teams will have the option of working on whatever skills discussed in the lectures and earlier versions of the behavior if the dog isn't quite ready for this next step.
The current plan is to release all lectures at the start of the class. This is so that students can plan which exercises they want to focus on over the 6 weeks of class. It will be impossible to work on all the topics in this class, most people will focus on 3-5 topics.
- Reducing Rewards: Introduce your dog to the concept that rewards may be off your body and at a distance. Increase the number of behaviors before rewarding.
- Heelwork: Transitioning from awesome pivoting to side steps, about turns and backing up. Starting to actually look like real heeling!
- Retrieves: Teaching deliveries to your hand and building confidence with retrieving by distractions.
- Position Changes: Adding distance and continuing to work on the dog's understanding of the behavior regardless of handler position.
- Directed Sends and Reverse Flys: Beginning to teach changes of direction when the dog is out away from you. This works on the skills needed for utility's go outs, directed jumping, and baseball glove exercises.
- Recalls to Front vs Heel: Discriminating between the 2 positions.
- Jump work: Teaching the dog to continue on to a task after taking a jump and the importance of taking the jump in both directions.
- Recalling away from distractions: Developing impulse control!
- Walking towards a distraction: Keeping focus while moving towards an expected reward and learning that a leash coming on (or off) is not a cue to disengage!
Students do not need to have passed TEAM 1 or 2 to participate in this class but should have a solid start on any of the behaviors they wish to work on. Gold students can still work on the level they are at for TEAM 1/2 skills if not ready for the more advanced versions. However, we will not be discussing beginning steps in the lectures except for the new TEAM 3 exercises.
The majority of the exercises can be practiced in the space the size of a standard living room. We will be breaking down the advanced exercises so a large space is not necessary. However, with a dog close to polishing the final exercises and chaining them together, access to a space 35x15ft will allow you to practice all of the final versions of behaviors.
- 2 cones or other objects your dog is used to going around
- Retrieve item
- Jump of any type
- Platforms, perches, or any other sort of targets your dog is used to sending to
Teaching a Reverse Send
A reverse send is the term I am using to describe the behavior of a dog turning 180 degrees to be sent onwards towards another task. This is a part of the TEAM 3-7 test when the dog is sent 10 feet to a target (whereupon he most likely turns to face the handler for more information) and then is cued a reverse send to continue on his original path towards the jump & cone.
The goal of teaching this behavior is to further increase the dog's distance skills. More specifically, it is extremely useful when combined with other advanced exercises in order to condition the dog that he may be sent backwards and will not always be called towards the handler again. Exercises where I commonly use such a skill include:
- Go outs for Utility: once I interrupt the dog's final nose touch behavior to the gate by cuing a sit instead, I often follow this sit by asking the dog to continue to the stanchion to touch instead of directing the dog to take one of the jumps coming back towards me.
- Drop on recalls: Come-down-reverse send back to a cone (or reward) reduces some temptation towards traveling on their down if the dog expects to be sent backwards.
- Position changes: With an advanced dog who is practicing the signal exercise (or any position change exercise) I might send them back to a cone or another target after performing a position.
- ANY behavior where I want to reduce the dog's tendency to travel forward after performing a cue at a distance from me. A reverse send can be to a cone, target, retrieve item, or even just their reward placed behind them.
Step 1: Turn Around to Send to a Reward- Teaching a Signal
You've likely already started this first step without paying much attention to it. In TEAM exercise 2-10 you placed a reward on the ground behind your dog while you left him on a stay. When you returned to your dog's side you then cued your dog that he could release to the reward behind him!
Now you're going to repeat that exercise but this time after you place the reward behind your dog you are going to step in front of your dog to face him. Remember to make it obvious that the distraction is the reward- I usually put food in a zen bowl or on a target so that my dog doesn't have to wonder if a release is towards me or towards the distraction. A separate cue to tell the dog where reinforcement is coming from is even better! I use the cue "cookies" so my dog knows they can get food from a container on the ground.
This hopefully will be incredibly easy for your dog to do, you can start adding a hand signal right away. This new signal will tell your dog to flip 180 degrees and head in that direction towards another task- in this case, their task is simply eating the reward. Keep in mind that your hand signal should look different than your signals. If a raised right hand means down to your dog than consider using your other hand or using a lower signal more like bowling your dog in that direction.
Here is Yummy's first session in learning to flip to a reward behind her. I am using her "cookies" reward marker cue at this stage.
When your dog is pretty happy about turning around to get his reward you can start adding distance.
- distance between you and the dog
- distance between the dog and the reward behind him.
Don't increase both distances at once!
Step 2: Send Back Towards a Target
At this step I exchange out the obvious reward for another target to send the dog to. This should be your dog's favorite target- a perch, platform, mat, or even a cone. In the TEAM 3 test they will be sending back to a cone, but starting with a foot target is often easier.
You can want to add a verbal cue at this stage that supports your hand signal and tells the dog specifically what task to do or just generally tells the dog to run in that direction until they hit the obvious/implied task in their path. I have chosen to use a cue "switch" that tells the dog to turn away from me and continue in that direction.
If you need to step in towards your dog to send them that is ok to start with! Gradually work on standing completely still as you give your signal. If you're having problems, stay very close to the target!
Here is a video of Lance who knows this skill well, but I am demonstrating using my arm signal in a very obvious manner to turn him backwards. Lance actually goes pretty wide to his target because my arm flips him out so far!:
Build up your distance a foot at a time until you reach 10+ feet. Remember, you need to work on
- Distance between you and the dog
- Distance between the dog and the target behind them.
Step 3: Target to Target
When you have some distance on your reverse send you can start to add in a second target that your dog is standing on at the start before being flipped away. It is surprisingly hard for a dog to leave 1 target and go to another! Many are reluctant to leave the target they are standing on!
Start directly in front of your dog with his feet on your first target with a second target located just a few feet behind him.
You may need to break it down even further by having your dog start on a target and then be directed back to a food bowl/toy placed behind them.
Here is Vaughn's lesson on being sent to a target behind him. He is NOT ready for this step as Vaughn is not fluent with being sent back to a single target, let alone leaving the one he is standing on. But Vaughn nicely volunteered to get video of a dog in the learning stages:
If your dog is struggling you can also try briefly going to the side of the targets so that it is a similar picture to the directed cone/target sends you have been practicing. Here is a picture showing the handler starting closer to the 2nd target, then in front of the dog, and finally working their way closer to being in front of the dog (yes he's totally doing a handstand in the last one, talented!).
Here is me standing to the side with Lance (the middle step above) and then going in front:
Distance needs to be built just like in the previous steps. Distance from the dog to the 2nd target, and then the distance of you to the dog.
Switching a Target for a Cone
Sending your dog to a cone behind them instead of another target can be done at any time. The cone slightly complicates things as your dog may not know which side to send around. Generally, if you use your right arm as a signal then the dog will likely turn counter clockwise and continue around the cone counter clockwise. If you use your left arm the dog will likely turn to their right and go clockwise around the cone.
However unless you plan on using a reverse send for a different sport (gun dog work) the direction the dog turns from you and turns around the cone doesn't matter. I let my dogs choose which way is comfortable.
Here is Zumi working on this skill of doing a reverse send from a target to her "cone." You will see that at 53sec she vocalizes with the added distance. Since she hasn't been doign that before, I take it as a sign to make things easier for her. I give her several cookies on the ground to help calm her and then move the target in closer so that I can still be further away but she doesn't have both distances to deal with:
I have now taken TEAM 1&2 and TEAM 3 at gold and my 5 yr old GSD, Hannah, and I have progressed further than we had in these two classes (two, 6 weeks sessions) than we had in the previous 3 yrs of OB training. We are new to OB and had gotten stuck in a rut with training. I could teach the initial skills, but I had a really hard time progressing them past the beginning stages and had no previous experience on how to move forward. Being able to follow the exercise progressions in the TEAM title levels has given us a clear, straight path forward that we needed. Having the instructor feedback has kept us motivated and has avoided some wrong turns that I would have taken along the path. We are not ready to pass all three of the first TEAM level titles yet, but we have a clear plan on how to get there and once we have completed them I feel like we will be so much more prepared to compete than before. Laura is really good at giving clear, kind, valuable feedback on your training videos. She is able to focus on the most important aspects of an exercise without getting caught up on extraneous, unimportant details for that team at that time. Her feedback also nurtures the handlers ability to start to be able to critique their own videos in a kind and thoughtful way. I very much enjoy Laura as an instructor and hope to take more FDSA classes with her in the future.
I have taken 3 gold classes and Laura is by far my favorite Gold class instructor. Her feedback was always kind, clear, fair (to both the dog and handler) and focused on what we were working on. I really appreciate that Laura kept us focused on the most important aspects of a behavior and did not nit-pick all of the parts that were wrong or weren't perfect. She realized that we were progressing with time and recognized our successes as we progressed. She also did a great job of acknowledging/validating and/or giving feedback to my own video critiques. This helped me learn how to review my own videos better and in a way that was kind to myself.
I need a kick in the butt to do some of this TEAM training and this class fir the bill. Your detailed and astute feedback is amazing. Definitley uncovered some holes in our training, which is very important. You always find something positive to say, too! Please keep up with the TEAM classes - I think they are are great asset to the FDSA curriculum.