The Dog’s Way Advanced Off-Leash Program

Can you imagine not needing a leash anymore? It’s possible!

running with dog on beach

Who is The Dog’s Way Advanced Off-Leash Program for?

The Dog’s Way Advanced Off-Leash Program is for people who spend time with their dogs in more adventurous areas.  If you hike, run on the beach, or enjoy time on a large property with your dog, having reliable, rock solid, off-leash obedience makes that time infinitely more enjoyable and stress free.  Our Advanced Off-Leash Program is for people who also just.


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want the ‘peace of mind’ that they no longer need a leash around to control their dog in high distraction situations. If an unforeseen, emergency, situation arises, it’s comforting to know that your dog will listen even when they are hundreds of feet away from you or that they will come back every time that you call them.

However, the Advanced Off-Leash Program is only for people who have graduated from the Basic On-Leash Course. Bummer!? I know! There’s some ground work that we have to do before moving on to the fancy stuff.  If you’ve read, seen or heard, any of my training, you know that the main principle I follow is the “natural learning process” – that is, always start easy and then incrementally adapt to progressive challenge. By the time you’re through with the Advanced Off-Leash Program, your dog will listen to you and perform obedience commands from a hundred feet away in high distraction, recall every time, and be able to be sent into something (like your truck or car) from a great distance. This kind of competence isn’t an entry level set of skills. To be fair to your dog (and you), I want your dog to have the foundational competency of the Basic On-Leash Program before moving on to advanced work.


How many lessons is it?

The Dog’s Way Advanced Off-Leash Program is 5 lessons over about 5 weeks at your location


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You get specific homework assignments each week and there is a lot of homework with this course.  Plan on devoting a lot of time, during the 5 weeks of course, to laying the foundation that will last for the rest of your dog’s life.


 

Will I need any special training equipment for this course? 

Yes.  In the first two lesson, we use a long line to begin expanding your scope of influence with your dog.  The other transition that we make when using the long line ( and eventually a light Totally solid with the commands from anywhere now and I swear she’s happier too.  Before she just seemed frantic and skittish … Thanks. Marlene Seattle WA line) is to


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slowly get your dog used to a remote training collar.  What is a remote training collar?  These collars, sometimes referred to as e-collars, are the same type of collar you see on dogs that have an invisible fence in their yard.  These fences register an electrical signal from a wire in the ground and give your dog a “beep” warning, and then if they don’t respond to the alert beep, a little static shock (you’ve probably experienced the same sort of static shock if you’ve ever shaken hands with someone in a dry office).  A “remote” training collar works exactly the same way, but it allows you to hold a “remote” in your hand and communicate with your dog purposefully as opposed to it being set off when they simply wander near a boundary wire.

There is always some reticence with this type of training collar (and frankly, there should be).  I’ve always said that a remote training collar is a very efficient tool … you can efficiently train your dog with one or (if you don’t know what you’re doing) you can efficiently mess your dog up!  We go through a careful step by step process to transition and expand all the understanding and work you’ve done in the basic course.  This allows you and your dog to incrementally adapt to the greater challenges of off leash distance work and the use of these new tools.

We have remote training collars, and lines for you to work with as you start out, but it is highly recommended to get your own equipment.  As with any training, there is a transition period, after the introduction phase of training, that involves being alert to minor mistakes that might be made as your dog becomes more and more solid with distance work.  Having your own equipment allows you to completely round out the course work with on-going maintenance during this transitional period.  (NOTE: talk to us first before buying your own remote trainer though – there is a short list of the collars we recommend)


 

What does the program cover?

The program covers all the obedience commands from the basic course but, obviously at greater distance under higher distraction.  However, there is a special focus on: recall, sending a dog to a place from distance, down at distance, and leave it at distance.
If I haven’t completed basic obedience with you, can I challenge the competency to get into the advanced course immediately?

Absolutely!  I don’t want to waste your time (or mine).  I certainly don’t want to have someone go through basic on leash obedience if they’ve achieved all those competencies somewhere else.  Here’s a list of the competencies that you’ll have to have to move directly into the Advanced Program:


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  • Walking on a loose leash (your dog never pulls while on leash without any command from you)
  • In intermediate distraction environments your dog can do the following on leash and with a dropped leash from 10-15 feet away:
    • Sit (3 minutes with 12 different objects of distraction being used around them)
    • Recall -“come” (with a dropped leash)
    • “Down” (responds to the down command from 6 feet away and holds a solid 10 minute down with a dropped leash with at least 12 different objects of distraction being used around your dog
    • “Leave it” (on leash, your dog consistently and immediately turns their head away and continues to ignore the object of their initial interest)
    • “Stay back “(In your house, off leash, you can give a command that draws an imaginary line that your dog does not cross. They understand that they can do as they wish on the “ok” side of the line but they are not allowed to cross the temporary boundary, once the command is given, until released by you)
    • Permanent boundaries (Your dog never jumps out of the car or goes through your open front door unless you call them across that permanent boundary with a “come” command.)
    • Sending a dog to a placeor into something (with a dropped leash or off –leash in your own house, you can reliably send your dog to their bed, into their crate, or into your car on command)
    • You dog can walk in a controlled walk on your left side (for an indefinite distance past distraction objects that are within reach and ignore them).
  • Greeting people (your dog knows how to greet, neutral, friendly strangers and accepts petting)
  • Re-socializing: your dog has completely worked through any startle/socializing issues
  • Your dog no longer has any behavior modification issues such as:
    • Jumping up on you or anyone else without you having to say anything
    • Mouthing
    • Barking (note: that this isn’t describing aggression issues it’s simply unwanted barking)
    • Counter surfing
    • Chewing on things they’re not supposed to
    • Or any other creative, annoying behavior your dog may have come up with


 

The assessment: If you think your dog can test out of the basic on-leash program, send me a video of your dog doing most of these things and then we can talk (please don’t film 10 minutes of your dog in a down – I’ll trust that you do a shorter down, with multiple distractions, for the purposes of the video… but, we will do a 10 minute down in the in-person assessment).  I’ll arrange to meet and assess your dog’s competence if the video looks promising.  The assessment fee is $125.00 and will last 45 minutes.  If you’re accepted into the Advanced Off-Leash Program we’ll credit 50% of the assessment fee to the Advanced Program cost.

 

How much does The Dog’s Way Advanced Off-Leash Program cost?    As with the Basic Program, the Off-Leash Program ‘per lesson’ cost is discounted from the Individual Lesson fee.  So, instead of costing $625.00, the Off-Leash Program is $ 495.00 for all 5 lessons at your location      Prerequisites: Basic On-Leash Program or equivalent