Foundation Behaviors and Why We Must Teach Them

Foundation Behaviors and Why We Must Teach Them

Most of us analyze our trial performance after the fact and try to identify what went wrong and how things can be improved.

Believe it or not, many lost points can be traced to what we call Foundation Behaviors. We identified four: Come, Stay, Give, and No. If we focus on these skills while the puppy is very young, we can save many headaches later on.

Let’s take a look.


Of course, we have recall exercises in Obedience. Even in Protection, “Call Out of the Blind,” is also a version of a recall if you think about it. We need to ensure that the dog comes every time we call, no matter the surrounding distractions. It is also a safety exercise in everyday life that is absolutely critical.  


“Long Down,” and "Out of Motion Exercises” are a big part of it as well as waiting for you after a “Send Away.” "Helper, Step Out of the Blind” is also, in a sense, a stay exercise. Stay is an introduction of impulse control to the puppy. We start with it right away when the puppy arrives in our home.


“Give/Out” cannot be understated in Protection. It is a definite display of drive and control. We are believers in teaching OUT without a conflict early on.


This is pretty much a STOP command for the dog. Stop doing what you are doing and do not attempt it again today, tomorrow, or ever. We do not want for the Helper to be bothered by our dog during “Side Transport.” Once the dog OUTS, we do not want him to re-bite on his own. We do not want him to be dirty in the blind. There is always a list of things we simply do not want for our dog to do.

If your dog cannot perform these basic tasks, it is almost impossible to get good scores. If he does not have a strong foundation, it is unfair to put him under the pressure of a trial.

We recommend to practice these skills until they are solid before working on IGP exercises.

Please feel free to leave comments or ask questions at the bottom of the screen.

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