Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rear End Awareness

Breeder and I took a day off of work last week to attend a clicker confirmation workshop in Osteen, Florida. It was great! We learned so much. It was definitely worth the 2 1/2 hour drive. At one point I was working with Jedi to try to get him to free stack. (Free Stack: Jedi puts himself into the proper stance for the show ring. As opposed to Hand Stack, where I move his feet where I want them.) Here's what we're going for:

This is Jedi's father -- not my dog -- stacking beautifully.
Let's hope the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!
I spent about 15 minutes of slowly luring Jedi into position with steak while trying to remember to click the second he was where I wanted. I quit before we were frustrated. Then I switched dogs. (Breeder was tired from the heat and the long drive.) I was surprised at how much easier it was to get Chili (Jedi's brother) into the proper position. Chili has a nice muscular rear end and was much more aware of what his back legs were doing. I could see that Jedi and I had some work to do!

As soon as we got home I Googled "rear end awareness exercises for dogs." There are hundreds of videos on YouTube on this subject. Most of them recommend pivoting training. Here's one that I really liked: Key to Complex Tricks -- Rear End Awareness. (I tried to link it right to the post, but there's some anti-embedding thing going on. Sorry.)

Apparently pivot training is useful for lots of things. Not only does it help the dog notice where is rear end is (and what it's doing!), but it's great for clean turns during obedience trials. And there's lots of fun tricks you can do with it too. Yep, Jedi and I are now pivot training in earnest.

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to lure him into the proper show stance (Stack). Once he "gets it" we'll work on the front feet. Eventually we'll name it. I'm thinking "Strike a pose!" BTW, this show ring stuff is a lot harder than it looks on TV. I'll keep you posted on our progress. -- K

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