SW103 – Advanced Back and Forth Alerts

By July 16, 2016Paid, Soundwork 103

In this course you’ll expand on the success you achieved in Soundwork 102. You’ll train your dog to alert to sounds in other rooms and out of direct visual sight. You’ll begin the training to have them alert reliably even in the presence of distractions.

You and your dog will start doing real-life Soundwork alerts, and you’ll learn how to teach new sounds.

Successfully completing this course will establish a solid foundation for Go Get help, Smoke Alarm alerts, and many others.

Distance: A big problem in Soundwork!

We can’t see what the dog is doing out of sight. To get a dog to go back and forth to a distant sound, we usually need a human helper. Humans are hard to train and motivate, however.

How can we train this alone? How can we be in two rooms at the same time?

Spanish dog trainer Guillem Barrera provided us with a great answer.

In a nutshell, you’ll train “Hand To Sound.” You’re going to add a barrier between the Birdfeeder/Timer and your other side. The dog will have to go back and forth around the barrier to get treats. You will control sound, treats, and alerting behavior.

The dog learns the concept of alerting you to the sound out of sight. Done in miniature like this, all the variables are controlled.

When you move on to training between actual rooms in your home, the dog will generalize very quickly to doing real life alerts.

Why Barrier games are so fast and effective

  • A small barrier teaches your dog the CONCEPT of how to navigate alerting from room to room in your home.
  • You can be two places at once: You can reward at the sound, and also reward for the alert behavior at your body.
  • Your dog learns to find the timer using its ears, and learns to find your hand by remembering to go around a barrier.
  • Your dog learns the skill of continuous alerting without stopping.


You will need a remote sound maker such as a wireless remote doorbell. Some of these have many sounds you can select. (read about it here)

To get the most out of this class, you will probably want a remote treat dispenser. If you have a cooperative human helper, you can do without it.

Pet Tutor is top of the line, smartphone-compatible model. It retails for about $300 and you can sometimes find used ones online. (read about it here)

Manners Minder/Treat ‘n Train is less expensive and used ones are available (see more info here)

You’re On!

Okay, now it’s time to give it a try with your dog. Let’s get started with Lesson 1.