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The climb exercise helps to teach your dog self control and the concept of “free”. It can also work well for a beginning exercise (A to B rule) when working in Distraction Training or Aggression problems.

To start you will need:

1. Platform for your dog to climb onto (a wood pallet about 3 - 5 inches high works great – make sure it is a solid top surface)

2. Dog

3. Leash

4. Collar

To start with you will:

1. Say “Climb” and lure the dog onto the platform with a kibble and pull them on the platform with the leash.

2. Praise and reward when they are on the platform.

3. Quickly say “Free” and lure them off of the platform and reward.

4. Repeat many times until you say “climb” and the dog wants to jump up right away and when you say “free” they know to come off.

Next you will start doing these exercises while walking around the platform.  When the dog goes to step off you say:

1. “No” – if the dog goes back on then say “good dog”.

2. If they don’t then say “climb” and tug them back onto the platform.

3. Repeat this in varying sequences so the dog understands that they must stay on the platform unless you say “free” even if you walk around the platform.

Next you will start using light leash pressure to pull the dog away from the platform very gently.  When they step off say:

1. “No” – if they get back on praise.

2. If not then say “climb” and tug them back on the platform.

3. Repeat in varying sequences and release to give them the idea.

Next you can practice your sits and downs on the platform while using leash pressure.  If they break sit or down say:

1. “No” – if they sit or down then praise.

2. If not then say “Sit” or “Down” and tap up or down on the leash then praise them for returning to the sit or down.

Finally you can incorporate more intense distractions such as other dogs, people, toys etc.  They must remain on the platform unless you say “free” or they must stay in a sit or down.

This will help them to understand self control.  Off the platform you can practice your sits and downs with leash pressure and the dog will often remember from the platform about staying in that position.  If they break then say “no” and correct as necessary.  Slowly increase distractions.  The goal isn’t to stress the dog, it is to teach them self-control around distractions.  This takes time and patience and small steps.