It is a fact that dogs like to learn, and the degree of challenge they enjoy really depends on the breed and the dog’s own personality. If you have a breed with a very high prey drive, like a Border collie or Australian Shepherd, it’s a great idea to try agility training or fly ball training with him. Some people want to take their dog to the next level, but they worry it might be too difficult or expensive.
Joel’s expertise is dog training in advanced behaviors, and since there are so many choices in behaviors, he suits the behavior he’s teaching to the individual dog.
For example, you can often select which behaviors to train first based on things your dog seems to do naturally anyway. If a dog seems naturally to like holding things in his mouth, it might be good to train the “retrieve” a bit sooner. Even though the “retrieve” is an advanced behavior, the dog’s predisposition for it will make the training much easier.
If a dog wants to “lie down” naturally, you can train that behavior and put it on cue. If the dog likes to roll on his side when you pet him, consider training the “play dead” behavior as one of the first behaviors after the “lie down” behavior is completed.
The advanced behaviors I would recommend are “lie down,” “play dead,” “sit up,” and the “retrieve.” You are going to want to start with the “lie down” for a few reasons. First, it is a neutral position, and once it is trained it comes in handy to train a long “stay.”
The “play dead” behavior can be trained after you complete the “lie down” because the “play dead” begins in the lying down position. The “sit up” will be trained after the dog knows how to “sit” because the “sit up” begins in the sitting position.
The retrieve is probably the most time consuming of all the behaviors. Try practicing it in two minute sessions, putting in five to eight short sessions a day.