Early class: 1 | 2 | 34 | 5

Download & print ONLY signs for the Virtual Rally Novice official course #5.


Download & print signs from ALL of the virtual courses ONLY. 

*These are not all of the novice signs. See week 1 for those. 

Side Stepping in Front position

Preparing for the Moving Sidestep Right Sign.

Practice this in many positions; Front, heel, right-heel.

Sit-splosions & Down-splosions

This is NOT a crazy cue! Aim for dog to be normal-arousal level when you give the cue.


Lets talk warmups

This is the first video we took of the day. I included the beginning, to show how I chose to start that filming/training session (we weren't training, per se, but dogs are always learning, therefore you are always training). 

In the future, you won't always need focus work, explosions, & the auditory stimulator to get your dog ready to work. You will be able to use them independently, to give your dog what they need in the moment (before AND during practice/trials). In this example, Batman had focus, he just needed livened up. A lot. He would still do the work (sit/down) without it, but there's a huge difference between a mopey dog and a livened dog. Also, I want a dog that is capable of thinking & performing when they are cranked (because your dog IS going to be cranked, despite trying to keep them calm), so I work them in that cranked state.

For dogs in training, still do focus-explosions with the auditory stimulator. While I didn't do them all here, make no mistake, I revisit them often still.


Let's talk jumping

I am a firm believer that you should mold the dog YOU want. Regardless of public perception. I used to hate my dog's jumping on me in the early years of being a trainer... until I realized it's POWER and embraced it. It's not necessary, but be open to it.

FOR THOSE NEW TO MY ADVANCED TRAINING (beyond CGC): YES! I let my dogs jump on me! This may be a surprise, because even if you're new to my training, everyone has seen how controlled Batman is. This shows that you CAN have it both ways- crazy when you want/need it & under control when you don't.

It is a very common misconception that if you teach a dog to jump they will do it all the time. Quite the opposite is true! When you put jumping on cue, you now have an on & off switch, making it so jumping is even MORE in control than if you just taught a dog not to jump at all. Trainers do the same for excessive barking- put barking on cue so there's contrast (quiet/loud, or jump/4 on the floor for jumping) & therefore more control of the behavior.

Dogs LOVE to jump, so I utilize that in my training! Anything your dog loves can be used as a reward! I will reward with whatever my dogs find rewarding in the moment (boy do I have stories, LOL!). For pet dogs it should be on cue though, otherwise it can be very dangerous!

You do NOT have to allow your dog to jump- especially if it's dangerous for you! However, don't choose not to allow it just because some believe that jumping on people is THE arbitrary thing defining if a dog is trained or not. I don't think anyone is denying how trained my dogs are... and they still jump.

Also, it doesn't have to be all or nothing! You can train your dog to only jump on you and not others. Or only jump straight up & not touch you. Batman jumps on precisely 4 people (myself, my husband, & 2 of your classmates that also play an integral part of TTK9. They are basically family AND okay with jumping). 


Important video notes

I was trying to break focus because he wanted to keep sitting when I looked, making it so I couldn't give the cue. You shouldn't do that unless you have similar issues. I want your dog focused.

Also included is his mistake & how I handled it. Had the gasp not worked, & would have backed up quickly (but not a foundation recall) and encouraged him to go with, to reset him. Then walk normal & ask for the same command. If my dog fails again, I made a grave mistake in not having a HIDDEN lure in my hand ready to go before I asked! If your dog isn't near 100%, always have a lure.


In this video you will see multiple *still* then explosive foundation recalls in a row. This is something I do for life for my dogs, but I go it a LOT more with a puppy or when I'm doing foundation training. I didn't set out to include this in the video. That is completely genuine training.

Rally-O Course work


Set up 1-2 Mini Courses with no more than THREE signs in a row. These signs can be ones you choose or they can be part of a course.

  • Always begin with focus work. Movement such as foundation recalls & sit/down-splosions are significantly better than static work, such as focus trees.
    • Do NOT add the “are you ready” cue. Doing so will likely result in the cue not working in the future. It's not ready yet.
    • Don't overwork engagement. Save energy for the course! Keep in mind that your sessions shouldn't last more than 5 min! I'd rather they were closer to 3 minutes.
    • If your dog is starting to flatten out, you’ve trained too long!!
  • Course = Rules. Rules = boring! You need to be even MORE fun to make up for it!
    • Don’t practice like a trial yet! Too big of jump!
    • Reward your dog excitedly and often!
    • It's impossible to force-focus.
    • You can force compliance of some things, but not advanced obedience—without making mopey dogs & some can’t handle it at all.
    • Punishment by definition is “avoidance & escape” training. e.g. dogs do something wrong such as chew a shoe & they get punished. Therefore, they avoid chewing a shoe again in the future (avoidance). Punishment can NOT create behaviors (beyond escape)! You can't even punish a dog into looking at a treat they love. But you can punish them into avoiding looking at it.
  • Remember your pre-practice/trial rituals!
  • HIDE YOUR REWARDS! Toys go down your shirt/pants (totally tmi, but bras and butt cracks are brilliant for this). Treats go behind your back.
  • Reward a LOT after the first step of heeling.
  • Do NOT let your dog fail in a sign. Be locked and loaded, ready to lure in less than a second!
  • Do the first mini course, then do 30 seconds SUPER FUN of breakout food/tug play. Then do your 2nd mini-course IF you are under 5 min & your dog hasn't passed their peak. 
  • Post-practice rituals (still do the "all done" command & cookie dump, but less cookies)

On the road work

Last week we did focus work at 2 stores in a row, a minimum of 3 days a week.

  • IF you DID that, you can relax on going to 2 stores:
    • Revisit once a month or more if your dog needs it.
    • Also ramp it up if you are working towards a show.
    • KEEP DOING 1 place a week, 3-6 days a week.
  • IF you did NOT do that, let’s call last week practice work, preparing you and your dog to bring it home this week!

“Are you ready” cue

Add thoughtful distractions.

Do this practice in the same place you intend to do your Virtual Rally course at home.

This list isn’t a buffet; Go in order. Master the lower numbers below, before moving higher.

  • Mastery = keep your dog’s focus easily around the object even when you are within a few feet of it.
  • No pushing to failure, to “find threshold.” See last week's section on Trust.
  • Fail = practicing wrong. Practice = more likely to do it in the future.


It is entirely possible that you will only do #1. Or 1 & 2. I don't expect anyone to get to the end of the list. I'd actually be concerned that you're pushing too hard if you get them all done this week. Or even next week.

Don't move up a number just because you are unable to do a lower one. Also, please come to me if you need modifications to these. Small changes can make huge impacts... and not always for the better.

KEEP IN MIND: If your dog loses focus more than a couple times, dial it back a little. Don’t practice breaking focus!

Thoughtful distraction list:

  1. Bring an object that is normal to your dog from inside & place it outside before your focus session (NO LIVING THINGS!). Your dog should have previously indifferent experiences with that object for their entire lives. Kitchen chairs are an easy example for most dogs.
  2. Throw a towel the size of a hand-towel (roughly 16” x 28”) over the back of the chair. Bigger towels can be scary to some dogs & should be avoided. A towel adds novelty and motion as a distraction.
  3. Place an open used pizza box in your training space. However, be thoughtful about how soiled it is and the placement. Don’t use a box that is too tempting. “Dry” (grease is inevitable) but otherwise relatively “clean.” Keep it at least 10’ away from your dog or more.
  4. Enlist a low-key human distraction. If your dog is VERY distracted by this human, keep them further back so you can keep your dog’s focus. Otherwise, keep your distraction at least 10’ away. This person’s behavior should be predictable, but still move. They can just mill around in a set path. Literally give them a visual path to follow, for control. It matters more than people realize... until it’s too late & failure can be catastrophic. The person could also video you, but again, show them the boundaries. 
  5. Use the distractions from 3 & 4 together. Have them 10’ or more apart, & 10’ away from where you plan to be.
  6. Enlist the help of a stable human (that’s how I write Ned out. It’s also how I see if April reads these). Have this person follow the same path as before, but this time they have the hand towel from before. Their goal is NOT to push your dog until they fail, but increase the difficulty slowly. They should also stop (still) if your dog gets distracted. They can start back up again if you get your dog’s attention back.

Training session videos

Here’s the thing; You’re not going to surprise a trainer with a mistake. We’ve seen it all. We’ve done most mistakes ourselves. I would have preferred not to fall, but I was at peace with it. Especially after attending one of the top schools in the world with some incredible students… also fall on their butt. A lot.