“Go On” Training for a Toy Motivated Dog

Just to define terms, “Go On” should mean to the dog “move forward” or “continue working forward”. With this in mind the dog training will begin by shaping the behavior and then rewarding the behavior when offered.


We should have this skill ambidextrously, but for the sake of this introduction start with dog on your left side.

Hide a toy in your right hand at your side away from the dog.

To give the movement cue the handler steps forward on his left leg while raising his left arm. At same time the handler should flip the toy straight forward with his right hand.


As the dog begins to get the game you should delay the throw of the toy. Now as the dog moves forward on the inside arm signal in anticipation of the toss he is rewarded with the toy.


Before too long we make the association with agility obstacles. A jump seems to be a logical choice for this training. Be thoughtful in your training that the directive to “Go On!” should be generalized to the extent that it isn’t only a jumping command.

Toss the toy as the dog gets up in the air over the jump. Ideally your throw will extend the dog’s path forward.


Introduce a second jump when the dog seems to readily understand the command. Don’t be too flatfooted in your work. It is perfectly acceptable for the handler to take a couple of strong steps forward to support his dog.

Note that initially we’re bending the presentation of the jumps so that the dog’s tendency to curl back to the handler’s position will contribute to the dog’s success in the exercise.

Toss the toy as the dog gets in the air over the second jump.


Finally, add a third jump to the training so that the dog will continue to work at a greater distance. The series of jumps curve to accommodate the dog’s tendency to curl back to the handler’s position.

The jumps shouldn’t be spaced too far apart in the early going. If you’re working with a large dog the jump heights might be lowered so that the dog has room to gather himself to jump. This isn’t about jumping… it’s about “Go On!”


Over time more space should be added between the jumps and the curl of the presentation of the jumps begins to straighten out. Note that the handler might repeat the directive to Go On! Since the handler is remaining behind the verbal is about the only way to continue to support the dog.

Toss the toy as the dog gets in the air over the second jump.


The end result is a Go On over a series of jumps while the handler remains behind. This is the most difficult distance send in agility.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my new publication the Idea BookAgility Training for a Small Universe available at www.dogagility.org/store.

One Response to ““Go On” Training for a Toy Motivated Dog”

  1. PuppyTrainer Says:

    Thanks for the post! without the images i probably would have gotten lost halfway lol

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