Obedience and Distraction Training:
Formality in obedience continues. Sit, Down, Heel, and Stay are more intensively trained. The dog is expected to hold a more precise position next to their handler. "Come" continues on leash and off-leash. Precise "Heel" position next to their handler in introduced while in harness. "Over Here" is introduce. Over Here's goal is for the dog to change positions behind the handler's back to their other side.
General Collar Response and Praise Response:
More difficult distractions are introduced. Various dog breeds (I'm sure Freya had fun with this), unusual scents, very solicitous people, and people-food.
Body work continues. It is now very detailed oriented. The dog should roll over for inspection. Body handling and responses should be improving.
CWTs focus on kennel enrichment activities, grooming, walks on campus, and community run time.
Guidework Training BEST Guide Dogs:
The dog should now be comfortable in the harness. Those dogs who are not are put into specialized programs. Those dogs who do not improve become a concern.
Pattern Training is a method used to introduce guidework to the dog in a positive manner. The instructor will cause the correct manners to happen through cues before mistakes are made. While in the phase the dog is prevented from making any errors while working with all the basic guidework mechanics. Obedience commands are used separately from guidework training to regain the focus of the dog. When the dog is refocused pattern training continues. Pattern training continues for almost 4 weeks (though it's probably shorter now on the new accelerated program).
Dogs are being introduced to and learning theses guidework behaviors:
- Stopping at streets, regardless of the type of curb or wheelchair ramp
- Clearing for the handler on the right side
- Clearing for the handler on the left side
- Crossing streets in a straight line or adjusting that line to reach the up curb on the side. (Dogs also receive target training in how to seek out the up curb by placing their front feet on that curb)
- Moving forward at a consistent pace on the command "Forward"
- Resuming that consistent pace on the command "Hopp-up" or moving closer to a stopping point
- Stopping and standing stationary on the command "Halt"
- Leading the handler in a 90 degree turn to the right and pick up the new travel line on the command "Right"
- Leading the handler in a 90 degree turn on the left and pick up the new travel line on the command "Left"
- To ease off on the amount of pull into the harness on the command "Steady"
Physical Agility Programs Continue as in Phase 2.
Obstacle Course Progression: Dogs continue to be walked through the course on leash in they are not ready to work in harness. Some dogs progress to guiding through clearance courses with obstacles, still on leash, cued by the Instructor to move in the desired way a finished guide would move. The course becomes more difficult usually requiring a more angled clearance move by the dogs, but still does not require a stop.
Socializing Training: Dogs are introduced to riding in the training van crates. A separate group of crates, just like the ones in the training vans, is located in the kennel complex. All dogs are introduced to jumping in and out of this mock crate set before being put into an actual training van. The dogs experience loading and unloading and riding comfortably and quietly. The dogs are expected to stay quiet while riding and while waiting for their turn at a training course. during this phase dogs are identified for specialized training fears or distractions. Food protocol is continued (how to refuse food on the ground or if offered by anyone but the handler)