Monday, January 12, 2009

15. FREE Online Basic Dog Training program

Are you still working on basic behaviors with your dog? Do you want to improve some of the foundation skills to strengthen them for assistance dog tasks?

Do we have the program for you!

The following program, called Sue Ailsby's Training levels Program, is free and available on-line. You can read it off your computer as you follow it, or print off a paper copy to follow and make notes on.

The author is Sue Ailsby, who has trained and used two of her own service dogs using the program. She is a retired dog obedience judge who trials service dogs in various dog sports. Sue has mobility issues as well as several other health problems that her current service dog assists her with.

She has put together this program to help everyone set the foundation for a good relationship with your dog, teach you some great training skills and have a dog that has the basic skills needed to start training as a service or assistance dog.

This program is quite an ingenious program. It explains step by step how to train your dog several specific behaviors, then by the time you get to higher levels, you have the skills to figure out how to train from there. She helps you by setting your next level goal for you to keep you on track. Some of the behaviors are captured, some targeted, and many are shaped. So you end up with a dog that knows how to think.

The program has an 'At-Home' training component, as well as an 'On-the-Road' (OTR) portion that gets you and your dog out in public training together. It teaches you how to increase distraction levels in small enough intervals that your dog can be successful.

The program produces a TEAM-you and your dog, ready to take on the challenges of life! The first 3 levels take about 1 month each to complete (depending on the age of your dog), the rest vary 2 months or more each depending on your dog, how often you train etc. It can be used with dogs of all ages, from tiny 8 week old puppies to senior dogs.

In case you are wondering: Yes, you can train service dogs tasks at the same time as you work through the program! At time of writing, Jessie is at level 5 and knows 10 in-home service tasks solidly in any part of the house. She has been doing this program 6 months and we do twice daily training sessions.

Here are the five pieces of the program that are on the internet. All FREE! The sixth is an extra I found that is available for borrowing or purchase.

1. Sue Ailsby's Old Training Levels Book
This book describes every thing you need to know to clicker train your dog. Read the Introduction as well as all other supporting material before you start. Published free on-line, we recommend you print it off (pdf) to make it easier to read. Use the program however you want to!

Sue has a NEW simpler version with a stream for service dogs that you might want to look at as well.

2. Yahoo Groups Discussion/Support Group

This is a great support group for anyone working through the program. People are friendly and helpful and several are also working their Service Dogs in Training through the program. It’s agreat place to ask for help, ideas, creative problem solving etc. You do have to set up a Yahoo group membership, bit it’s easy and free.

Training Levels Tracker

This is a fantastic tool where you can keep track of your training sessions and whatyour dog has accomplished. There is a private and public journal, a section for training notes under each behavior and other area for notes in case you want it.

You can add custom behaviors (service dog tasks) so you can track time, repetitions and location as you teach them. If you are applying for certification, this will be a great record when you need to tally total amount of time, repetitions and locations for each service task trained.

Take some time to explore around this one as it’s a very useful tool. You can also use it even if you are not following the program!

Here is
Jessies’s public training journal for you to see. Click on Scoreboard for a visual overview of where she is at.

4. I-phone and I-pod touch application:

5. Here is Lucy working through the levels, started when I got her at 23 mos:
Lucy, Level 1 tests
Lucy, Level 2 part A tests
Lucy, Level 2B test
Lucy Level 3A test
Lucy Level 3B test

6.Frapper Location Map

Have a look at the map to see if others are training near you. Meet up with them and set up practices to help your dog improve. Or get tips from others who are ahead of you.

7. Training Levels Testing DVD

Vicky O’Connor had one of Sue’s Testing session videotaped so you could see what each behavior was supposed to look like and what a pass and fail looks like. This DVD is available for borrowing in the Nanaimo area. It’s about 3 hours of footage but you can skip around and look at what you are interested in. Vicky also has it available for sale $33 on her Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

8. If you would like a coach to help you through the process and live outside of the Vancouver Island area, our services are available via webcam so you can get help with training one on one and face to face in your own living room for a very modest fee!


  1. these are the best most comprehensive articles I have ever found with training a service dog. I am working on training a rescue dog for service work, mostly with PTSD and balance support. He is doing great and we have only been working through your program for 2 months! Everyone at our dog training club loves him and says he is such a wonderful dog. Thanks so much again for posting this. To get a dog privately it costs almost $10,000 and most people with disabilities just don't have that.

  2. This is a good method to establish a proper relationship between you and your puppy.

    Dog training video

  3. amazing,... the content are quite interesting.. it surely help me on ..Thanks for the helpful information
    Basic dog training


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