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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-07-2009, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Down in place

Because of the way I taught it, Bodie has learned "down" to mean "come in front of me and lay down." No matter where he is, if I tell him to "down" he will walk over to where I am and lay down right in front of me. How do I teach him to lay down where he is? I guess this is the equivalent of a long down. If I'm three feet away and I tell him to down, I want him to drop where he is.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-07-2009, 04:20 PM
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Re: Down in place

I'd just use a different word. "Down" will continue to mean, come in front of me and lie down, and the new word will mean "drop to the ground now!" You could use the German "Platz", or use Drop! or whatever word you want to use.

I'd go back to teaching him the new down as if it was a completely different thing. Lets say you use Platz, Start by luring him into the platz position with a food reward when he is close to you. Once he knows to drop to the ground, practice stepping away from him, stepping back, and rewarding him for keeping position.

Then as you progress to taking two or three steps away, with him still in the platz position, he will get the idea that being down away from you is okay. Before you expect him to platz three feet away from you, try getting him to do it one foot away, then two, and so on.

Hope this helps some, or at least may give you some ideas on how you can go on to try and retrain him.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2009, 07:16 AM
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Re: Down in place

Quote:
Originally Posted By: VirginiaBecause of the way I taught it, Bodie has learned "down" to mean "come in front of me and lay down." No matter where he is, if I tell him to "down" he will walk over to where I am and lay down right in front of me. How do I teach him to lay down where he is? I guess this is the equivalent of a long down. If I'm three feet away and I tell him to down, I want him to drop where he is.
First you will either have to train the act of going into a down from a distance using another word or retrain using the "down" as a command to mean "belly on ground" no matter where the dog is. Then you could use a "back-tie" method. Using a long line or rope, tie your dog to a fence, tree, whatever. Walk a few feet away from him, turn and face him and give the down command. Gradually increase the distance.

Is that post too short to make sense?

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2009, 10:50 AM
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Re: Down in place

That's drop in place which can also be used for drop on recall. How about using "Platz" for your command for this? It's a pretty standard command for drop in place. (Sounds like a jig saw eh?)
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2009, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Down in place

Thanks for the help everyone. I was considering reteaching it as the platz command before I posted the question, but I will definitely do it now. I think I have some pretty good ideas on how to go about this now. Thanks again!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2009, 06:04 PM
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Re: Down in place

Just to throw another idea out there ..

The typical dog is trained to lay down by moving the front feet forward until the dog is down.

I teach my dogs TWO downs. One is "down" as described above, one is "platz" and it's where the dog is standing and then rocks back (without moving feet) until he's laying on his stomach in a sphinx-style down.

This second "platz" down is GREAT if you don't want your dog to move forward. Because it involves leaning backwards, the dog is less likely to take a step forward because it's the wrong way for that particular behavior. It makes a wonderful drop on recall because the dog has to stop the forward motion and rock back quickly in order to hit the ground.

I start with the dog in a standing position and then I use a treat in one hand, while the other hand is resting on the dog's back, over the withers (top of the shoulderblades). I have the treat in my hand so the dog can smell it but not get to it at first. Then I bring my hand to the dog's nose so he is well aware there's a treat. I slowly lower my hand and move it back between the dog's front legs (I want his nose to follow my hand, so it's a very slow movement - if he's licking at my hand, that's fine) and then I stroke or scratch the withers and the dog usually folds right down into the platz position.

Some dogs will try backing up at first to get to the treat. This is normal. I just ignore it and try again. He'll figure out that backing up doesn't work and try something else. I don't give a word command at first - he wouldn't know what it meants, and in case he doesn't do the behavior I don't want him associating the word with anything else. So I hold off and don't add the verbal command in until he's doing the behavior consistently with the signals he's getting.

Once he's figured out that folding back and to the ground is what gets him the reward, I stop using a treat in my hand. I'll still use my hand in the same movement, though - moving it down and between his legs - so as to give the same visual cue at first, but the treats will be in a pocket or on a chair and then I'll bring a treat to his mouth (or put it between his front legs) after he is in the proper position.

Then I add in the verbal - using "platz" before the visual cues each time so that the dog is starting to associate the word with the movement. I stop using my hand on his back. Then I gradually fade the use of the other hand - usually I change it and make it into a broader sweep (arm up to the sky and then down and below his head at first so that the last part of the signal is what he recognizes, then gradually fade that last part so that the signal ends up being an arm up and then back down to my side in a natural movement). The arm signal is handy for distance work, too.

When he's got the "platz" figured out, I start adding in distance. I may only go one foot at first until he's got it figured out not to come toward me, then add in another half a foot, etc. Teaching him in small increments is important if you want a real solid behavior.

Since this is a different movement than a typical down, you can still use your "down" command to indicate you want him laying down when he's near you. And if you want the platz to be a long stay, you may also want to teach him a "relax" command that tells him he can roll onto his side and relax. I teach my dogs "roll" and that means move over onto your hip or side.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-12-2009, 11:36 PM
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Re: Down in place

Melanie, I just wanted to chime in on the VERY nice explanation of your platz, as well as your beautiful instructions. Makes me want to rush right out and try it out!

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-13-2009, 01:26 AM
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Re: Down in place

Thank you, kind sir! *L* Glad I made sense - sometimes I'm in a hurry and I skip things.

I LOVE teaching the fold-back "platz" - it's actually the first thing I teach a puppy! I don't teach sit until months later. I know, weird, but "sit happens" so easily ..*LOL* .. and I concentrate on the platz and the stand first and add in the sit later.

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