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What is a "sphinx down"?
It's on the list of what we learn in agility, but I have no idea what it is. (we haven't started yet, but i like to know what we'll be doing, and i can start teaching her before the next level)
Can she learn Both downs? she does the drop down and a bow in front/ butt drops last now, they're 2 different commands.

what is it and how should i teach her? (we clicker train)

thanks! :)
 

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A Sphinx down in a down where all their legs are underneath them and they're straight and ideally attentive. The idea being that they can get up and move again quickly...like the sphinx. I've always seen it taught best from a stand with the front legs going down first. NEVER from a sit and then lured down.




As opposed to the more relaxed slightly off kilter down, where the back legs are off to the side and the dog is generally more relaxed :) My dogs all naturally go into this more relaxed down if they are in a more relaxed frame of mind...which doesn't include training and competition.
 

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If you are getting your dog to do the bow in front/butt drops last type of down and once she is down, she does not flop her back legs over (one leg on top of the other), then you are doing a sphinx down.
 

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Also, like Jklatksy said, down is best taught from a stand position. Too often I see people trying to teach dogs to down from a sit position and then what you see is the dogs start to think that in order to down, they need to sit first ... so when you say "down", the dog sits and then downs. You definitely don't want THAT in agility.
 

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Some people use this down on the table and some for the start line. It's not necessary to down on the table anymore for AKC, but it's nice to have and some dogs need to do it to stay in position.
 

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That was one of the things we worked on in Dena's agility class. A fast down is easily taught with a toy - the second she goes into the down release her immediately and throw a ball or produce a tug. The faster the down, (or sit - you could practice it both ways) the faster she'll get the toy. If the dog is going to be doing a series of fast downs they usually will stay in the sphinx position rather than rolling onto one hip in a more relaxed down, and they're just naturally going to be doing it from a stand position instead of sitting first. If she works better for food, use that instead. "Down" - mark, toss a treat, then quickly cue the down again.

You could also train the relaxed down as a separate command, so that "down" means to drop straight down into the sphinx position and then she rolls onto her hip on cue. I actually use the command "relax" for that. You can teach it with a treat lure - moving their head around to follow the treat will usually make them tip their hips over, and then you mark it and release the treat.
 
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