In this post I will outline what you need to do to start. I will introduce the puppy (or dog) to an elevated plank (the top board) and an ascending plank. I will guide the dog by the collar to help them understand the idea of staying on. I also do this to keep them steady. The dog must offer to go on their own. Patience will be rewarded. If your dog freezes there are ways to problem solve this but that is not the purpose of this post. Whenever the dog gets to the point where they are leaving the board I make sure that the reward comes to them low. I want the heads to stay level and looking towards the floor. I keep repeating this until the dog is showing me a willingness to do it with confidence and speed while staying on. I keep myself always in a position of support. I keep myself within reach of the dog and I also make sure I don’t infringe on the dog’s space. This will cause the dog to leap off.
In the meantime I am introducing the dog to the clicker. I strongly recommend the use of the clicker, you will see better results. Even if you aren’t good with it, there is only one way to get better and that is to practice. If you avoid it you will see slow progression. Once the dog understands the clicker I will introduce the target. The target is something that the dog will use to keep their attention low to the ground. This helps them stride to the bottom and also helps prevent them from leaping off the bottom.
These two skills are built until you see confidence and independence. In future posts we will concentrate on bringing the two skills together.