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Old 07-22-2009, 12:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default lay on his side?

I recently decided that some command along the lines of "side" might be very useful with the Beast, particularly for nail cutting which is the bane of his existence.

I have tried a few different things, but realized my failing is that I really have no plan in mind. I have no idea how to teach him side- it just isn't a natural occurrence in the course of things for us so I can't break down steps to get to it in my mind (and thus create a plan to teach it to him).

I tried finding him on his side, or when he rolls on to it (not a very frequent happening around here) and giving it a word and a treat...it hasn't seemed to make any connection. I have tried having him in a down and using food to lure him to his side with the command side...and frankly he has no idea what I am trying to get him to do. My method is clearly all wrong (and as I said I am sure it is because I have no plan in my head of HOW to do this).

So HOW does one teach a dog to lay on his side? Am I just having a mental block? Should this really be so much harder than sit or down or stay?
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Old 07-22-2009, 12:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: lay on his side?

You can either mark it with a word/command when you see him doing it naturally (I use the word "rest" meaning to lay on side with head on the floor). Or you can work from a "down" position and lure him into the side/rest position with treat. Mark the correct response by giving him the treat and using the marker word but NOT until he is in the exact position you want (for me it would be head on the ground/floor).
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Old 07-22-2009, 12:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: lay on his side?

I use the word "relax".

I'd try luring him...having a treat perfectly handy and watching for him to do it on his own is less likely to have an association made with any consistency.

When he's in a down, see if you can get him on his side by using food to lure him. If it doesn't work, you can ease him onto his side (but very gently...don't force or push him). Marshall is one of those "here...let me lay on my side or back so you can scratch my belly" kind of dogs...so teaching him this was very easy. If your dog doesn't do that much...it might be slightly more difficult...but keep at it. Even if it takes a while it'll work.
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Old 07-22-2009, 01:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: lay on his side?

Getting him on his side is the problem... If he is in a down and I use a treat to lure he just twists his body but NEVER goes on the side...if I try to guide him he pops up to a sit! I am clearly doing it wrong....
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Old 07-22-2009, 01:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: lay on his side?

I love this trick! instead of lay on side i just had to teach this trick as "Bang your dead" Trick. This may be hard to write in words but I'll try my best. When you have your down laying in a down position, check his back legs if the dogs legs are on the ground in a ready to pop back up way, you wouldn't be able to lure the dog onto his side.
This is what i mean (each leg on one side ready to jump back up into action)



First step with the dogs down is to have your dog in a relaxed down as in the dogs legs are on one side of his body. This is a picture of what i mean with the legs (Dexter has his legs in a relaxed down both legs on one side, then theirs my super senior Libby breaking her stay tehe !)



You can try and lure the dogs legs to one side by using a really tasty food lure. Take the lure and try to kinda draw a circle around the dogs head in slow motion. that generally gets them to shift into a nice relaxed down with legs on one side.

Once you have them in that position you can lure them onto their side. Some dogs do not like this position because its very submissive, and it can be uncomfortable. I would try this on soft comfortable surface at first, with little to no distractions around. You can start luring at the dogs shoulder on the side that the dogs legs are resting, slowly take the treat and guide it around their head, if you do this really slow and let the dog follow the treat with his nose, maybe let him lick the treat a little you can slowly help them shift their body onto their side. This may take a few times for your dog to understand , if your having a hard time with the lure you can always try and tempt with a belly rub or a soft push, just make sure the second you get your dog in that behavior you mark and reward! Then have lots of fun with it!!

(BANG)


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Old 07-22-2009, 01:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: lay on his side?

Thanks for the detailed response! His downs are always the "ready to pop back up" type! It has made luring to his side impossible...I will attempt the slow motion circle around his head with a treat in hopes his legs will shift! This is just what I needed- a step by step break down to getting him on his side..I am so excited!
(Maybe we will try the bang trick...right now the only "trick" he does is balancing things on his nose until he is told he can have them- very drooly mess from that one)
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