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  • Writer's pictureRobin Greubel

On our way to the Back 40....

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

Foundation training is important.

Yesterday I had the Dutch and the Lab puppy out for a walk. They were loose and we were headed to the back 40 (literally, we have a pasture called the Back 40). It's about a 2 mile hike to get out there and back and is a great time to work on recalls and remote control (sits/downs).

The coyote hunters were driving up on a 4 wheeler, so I put Niko on a down stay to talk to them. He laid there quietly while I talked to them about den locations, where I usually see them and where I should walk dogs to stay out of their way.

Flare (the lab puppy) was running around sniffing, and in general doing 'lab stuff'. I knew she was not ready for me to ask for a long sit/stay and I didn't have any treats so I just let her be.

As they drove away on the machine, I started walking and went to turn a podcast back on. About 30 ft later I looked up and realized Niko wasn't running with me.

I spun around because I thought he was chasing the 4 wheeler.

Nope, there he was, waiting quietly for me to release him from his down stay.

This is why stimulus control matters.

These were strangers on our farm, Niko has never met them. He is highly protective of our property and of me.

Having him remain in his down/stay until released while I talked to strange men on a 4 wheeler, with a puppy running around was NOT on my radar when I started out. But that is where we were.

Having this type of control over my dog makes owning/handling him a pleasure. It also serves a very functional role in other training, helps me pass a certification and lastly, it is one more level of safety for people we may come across.

Is it important for my Labs to have this much stimulus control? Yes. They are working dogs. There may be a time I need them to lay/sit quietly for their safety, but also for the public's safety.

Foundation training matters.

What is one of your key foundation behaviors?


Robin Greubel MBA, ICF-ACC Robin has been training working dogs since 2001 and educating working dog handlers and trainers all over the nation since 2008. While working in corporate America, she managed relationships and people using the same behavior principles she honed training dogs. Not only can these principles transform your ability to work at an elite level with your dog, but apply to every animal (humans too!) you work with. She is a certified professional coach and the CEO of the K9Sensus Foundation, a foundation that focuses on coaching the human end of the leash.

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