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Old 12-19-2013, 12:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Left circles and hind end awareness

I need some help on improving Jade's hind end awareness.

In training class last night our trainer pointed out that she doesn't seem to be really moving her back feet then we are doing left circles. This causes us to crash into each other and have these huge circles. We talked for a bit about getting Jade to move her back feet more (actually stepping to the side as we turn) and some of the more advanced people in the class demonstrated what it should look like, but due to timing issues we never really got a chance to talk about just how to train that. The the trainer did mention that we need to keep working on our circles, taking smaller and smaller steps as she gets better. We have a few weeks off from class due to the holidays and I really want to work on improving this before we go back to class.

Does anyone have any good tips/tricks for getting a dog to actually move their back feet?
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Definitely! You can teach perch work to teach them how to move their feet. It's just standing on a stabilized pbject with their front feet and teaching them to rotate around using their hind end.

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Old 12-19-2013, 12:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Perch work! My dogs LOVE to stand on that bowl! They run for it as soon as I throw it down.
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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+1 for perch work, that's where I would start too.

IMO the biggest tip for success with perch work is to build up a strong foundation where the dog understands that both front feet are supposed to stay on the perch (bowl, book, whatever). A fair number of people don't spend enough time reinforcing that fundamental front-foot placement and it bites them in the butt later when they try to lure or push the dogs around the perch and the dog keeps coming off. So really, really make sure you have that completely down before you start adding movement.

I do a lot of backwards work for hind-end awareness too. This is more on the intermediate-to-advanced end of the spectrum and I would definitely do a ton of perch work first, but once you're through that, some of these exercises might give you additional ideas.

This is an old video, but it shows mat targeting while in reverse so I think it's still useful. The key idea I want to point out with this one is that you can teach your dog to target objects with his back end as well as his front feet (note that Pongu only hits the gray mat with his two hind feet before reversing, and although you can't really see it well given the camera angle, he is [clumsily] targeting his butt as he does the reverse so that he finishes between my legs):


Multi-dog backwards stairs obstacle course!

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Old 12-19-2013, 01:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Also, just back up a step. And by that I mean teaching the step up first onto the object. Put the object you want to use on the floor. Are you clicker training? When your dog approaches the object, click, treat. When the dog has this down, ask for more by waiting to click, treat until the dog actually touches it. This will now progress to you asking (by waiting to click, treat) for more from the dog. The dog wants that treat and will try to figure out what it needs to do to get it. You may have to take a step back to the beginning of this whole process to move forward. Once the dog is comfortable standing on the object, you can work on getting the dog to move its back end one way or the other. Most dogs are stronger in one direction than the other.
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Old 12-19-2013, 02:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the replies! Looks like a perch work is the way to go! We will give that a try over the Christmas break and see how we do.

GatorDog thank you for the video, it really helps to see it being done! Also I absolutely love Carma, beautiful and so much fun to watch
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