Monday, November 15, 2010

A different approach

When I do the figure eight exercise with Cheddar, I always start by heeling toward the left post. More often than not, she bumps my leg at about 3 steps into the pattern. I know this is from lack of attention while heeling. She is NOT a "heads up" heeler. Anatolians just don't get into staring at your face whilst you spit cheese at them every few steps. So last week one of the gals that I was doing figure eights with at class, started off with the right post and when I asked her about it, she said her dog would get bummed out doing the same exercise the same way time after time. She decided to switch it up and the dog's attitude is much better. I tried it and by going to the right post first, the left bump at 3 steps is eliminated. Now by the time we get to the left post, Cheddar is mentally into the exercise and, so far, no bumping. I'm going to mix it up more by doing a post 2 times in a row, throwing in some slow and fast times, doing BIG and small circles around posts, doing an an about-turn midway through the exercise, breaking the exercise off midway with alot of praise and throwing a toy, etc. I'm having trouble getting her to "down" quickly while I'm heeling. This is in preparation for the drop on recall. She goes down on the first command, but it is sssllooooowww. I do reward her with food when she is down, but she is not real food motivated, and in essence I'm rewarding her for the SLOW down. Happy heeling!


  1. I go to the right with my corgi and to the left with my toller. The corgi is a forger so it was hard for him to collect for that tight turn off the bat, but by going to the right first I can us that forging to my advantage.

    I was going to he right with my toller in practice but then quickly discovered at our first trial that he just doesnt' have that confidence in the ring yet. going to the left elminates the would be lag if I did the outside circle first. With both dogs I try mixing up the figure 8 a lot to keep them thinking!

    I found that tossing treats really helps to get faster downs. Of course I have smaller dogs though :) I call, cue a down, click and throw the treat behind them. repeat. It helps to stop forward motion since the treat is always behind them, and the tossing gets them jazzed up more than me walking in to treat. I do the same thing while heeling with them, cue a down and then toss it behind me. If the dog doesn't lie down fast enough than I interrupt before they have the chance to complete it by telling them "oops too slow!" run forward a few steps and then try again. I only reward for speeds faster than average.

  2. These are GREAT training ideas! I'm going to try your method of treating for the down at dog training tonight!! Your ideas also reminded me of something I learned many, many years ago at a Diane Bauman camp...the slower the dog moves, the faster the trainer should move. I'll let you know how it goes..thankyou!!