Grade School Level

Does your dog go crazy outdoors, around other dogs or when you have guests in your home? These frustrating moments are what prompt a majority of dog owners to reach out for our help.  Interestingly, the reason your dog struggles and you become overwhelmed by their behavior in these instances is because of one simple fact – the grade school level (GSL) is too high!  


Would you send a five year old to eight grade? Of course not, they wouldn’t be prepared for that level of learning. The same logic should apply to your dog.


Our training method focuses on a simple model much like sending a child to school.  We begin with fundamental concepts and build skill level as the dog is successful.  Like a set of stairs, each step is a higher level of stimulation or challenge in the environment, therefore in order for the dog to be successful at the next level, they first need to master the prior. 


There are three simple ways to adjust the GSL for the dog’s optimal learning:

  • Distractions – level of stimulation in the environment and how valuable is the stimulation to your dog
  • Distance – proximity to the stimulation
  • Duration – the level of help needing to be provided by the handler to keep the dog doing the behavior we desire, the reward frequency


It’s important to recognize the power of GSL when training your dog.  If you are frustrated, guaranteed the dog is also frustrated.  These emotions add to the GSL and elevate the rate of failure.  


Tips for Success

  • Work at your dog’s pace of success, creating a strong foundation at each level.  
  • Maintain a ninety-five percent success rate and reinforce behaviors you desire until the dog begins doing your preferred behavior on their own with minimal support. 
  • Adjust the grade school level to match your dog’s current capability.  If you are correcting the dog too much, the GSL is too high.
  • Honor mistakes and make adjustments in the GSL to achieve more success.


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