Rally, week 3

Foundation Exercises

The more work you put into foundation exercises, the easier your Advanced, Excellent, and Masters signs will come together.

Clicker
We learned the importance of using the clicker with distance exercises. It is impossible to immediately reward our dogs for doing what we ask when they are several feet away from us. However, we can click them for doing what we want, and then deliver the treat.

Touch
We taught our dogs to touch our hand (click, treat). Then touch our hand in different positions. Then finally, touch our hand while we held it on the Cone. Our final goal is to get them to go out (away from you) to touch the cone.

We also learned to use the foot target here, to help position our dog’s so they went out past the cone (to the foot target), then turned around (toward you) to touch the cone. We are setting the foundation for our dogs running out to the cone, then turning back to look at us for a command.

Heeling Backward
We put our dog beside us, with them against the wall. Then we moved a treat from their nose to their chest, slowly. We let them have the treat for one step back. As they got better, we had them offer more steps backward to get the treat.

Backwards heeling will be in future signs, and it will greatly help your execution of current signs, such as anything with a left turn or pivot. It will also greatly help them understand where heel position is!

Position Change on Foot Target
We started teaching our dogs to change positions (sit, down, stand) on the foot target. Many dogs prefer the lower foot targets are easier to sit and down on than the raised ones.

The silicone potholders I use for foot targets can be found on Amazon, here.
The Disc Golf targets I have can be found here.
You can also get the wood ones at Menards. They are 12″ diameter.

Position Changes at a Distance
I put this in red, because I want everyone to focus heavily on this exercise.

We sent our dog to a foot target, away from us. This week I’d like to see your dogs able to be sent to a foot target that is 6′ away from you. Work up to that distance slowly. Dogs like to be by their handlers, therefore doing “send-a-ways” is hard for them.

We then used the foot target to assist us in showing our dog how to do commands at a distance. For instance, sending our dogs to the foot target 1 or 2-feet away from us, then asking them to perform a position change (sit/down/stand). This is a very hard activity to master. Have a lot of patience while teaching your dog. Our goal is to eventually have our dogs 6′ away for us while they execute commands. However, if you get 2′ away this week, you will be doing great!! Again, don’t progress too far too fast!! If your dog struggles, stay closer to them. The important part is that they get it right. If they keep moving closer to you in order to perform a position change, you’re progressing too far too fast. It’s hard not to move too fast, but it’s important to progress at their pace, not ours.

If your dog struggles greatly on this, you can try using a lifted bed as a pedestal for them to perform position changes. 2″ to 2′ pedestal or bed is ideal (to give you an idea, many people use KLIMBs, but they are expensive). Being on a lifted pedestal will help them stay in their place, away from you, while executing commands.  The higher the pedestal, the more likely it will keep the in their spot while you move away.

Demonstrations
Batman demonstrated the Send-out exercise with position change at a distance. This is where the dog goes to a cone 6′ away from the handler, turns to face handler, and performs position changes. This is in preparation for more difficult signs to come.

Spin & Twirl
We taught our dogs to spin in both directions. I use Spin for my dog to spin clockwise, and Twirl for my dog to spin counterclockwise. I also use my left arm to cue him to twirl counterclockwise and my right hand to cue him to spin clockwise. You can use any commands you want, but it’s important to use different commands for different directions to help with clarity.

This week we want our dogs to spin in either direction, while in heel position.

Signs


35. Call Front – Return to Heel –
While heeling, the handler stops forward motion and may command/signal the dog to front. The handler may take several steps backward. The dog must come and sit in front. The dog must stay while the handler walks around behind the dog to return to heel position. The handler must pause before heeling forward. (Stationary)



13. Call Front – Finish Right – Forward – While heeling, the handler stops forward motion and calls the dog to front. The handler may take several steps backward. The dog must come and sit in front. Without the handler moving their feet, the dog must finish to the right. As the dog clears the handler’s path, the handler will heel forward before the dog returns to heel position.(Stationary)



14. Call Front – Finish Left – Forward – While heeling, the handler stops forward motion and calls the dog to front. The handler may take several steps backward. The dog must come and sit in front. Without the handler moving their feet, the dog must finish to the left. As the dog clears the handler’s path, the handler will heel forward before the dog returns to heel position. (Stationary)


15. Call Front – Finish Right – Sit – While heeling, the handler stops forward motion and calls the dog to front. The handler may take several steps backward. The dog must come and sit in front. Without the handler moving their feet, the dog must finish to the right and sit in heel position. (Stationary)



16. Call Front – Finish Left – Sit – While heeling, the handler stops forward motion and calls the dog to front. The handler may take several steps backward. The dog must come and sit in front. Without the handler moving their feet, the dog must finish to the left and sit in heel position. (Stationary)



106. HALT – 90° Pivot Right – HALT –
While heeling, the handler halts and the dog sits. The dog and handler pivot 90° to the right together and the dog sits in heel position. (Stationary)



107. HALT – 90° Pivot Left – HALT –
While heeling, the handler halts and the dog sits. The dog and handler pivot 90° to the left together and the dog sits in heel position. (Stationary)



112 HALT–180°Pivot Right –HALT–While heeling, the handler halts and the dog sits. The dog and handler pivot 180° to the right together and the dog sits in heel position. (Stationary)



113.HALT–180°Pivot Left –HALT–
While heeling, the handler halts and the dog sits. The dog and handler pivot 180° to left together and the dog sits in heel position. (Stationary)



116. HALT – Pivot Right – Forward –
While heeling, the handler halts and the dog sits. The dog and handler pivot 90° to the right together and heel forward. (Stationary)



117. HALT – Pivot Left – Forward –
While heeling, the handler halts and the dog sits. The dog and handler pivot 90° to the Left together and heel forward. (Stationary)