Thursday, March 30, 2006

Rally Advanced and Expert

Now that we are out of AKC Rally Novice, I am working on 3 things. Everything else seems pretty easy since we do regular obedience and agility but the 3 are:

Back up 3 steps
Side Step
Offset Figure 8

I have had some luck with luring for the back 3 steps though he tends to swing his rear around and I don't have a great wall to use. Getting this on cue will be the next step (someday!).

We are also finding the side step challenging. I am trying basically sit, heel one diagonal step, sit and gradually reducing the diagonal to a side step. I am having a hard time getting him straight in line with me again. His rear is swinging away. This would be a great skill to have for regular obedience too. Wish I taught it a long time ago. I tried getting our target stick out and gently tapping him on the rear to get the rear into position but he freaked out and jumped a mile out of position ;-)

The offset figure 8 works only if I have tons of visible treats to entice him away from the rally food bowl (which looks exactly like our regular food bowl)! This is going to be a hard one to proof because the reward is so high for not "leaving it"...

7 comments:

Alice said...

Hi John,
For the back up in Rally here is something to try. I started by standing in front facing your dog and walking at him with a treat at his nose telling him to back up.... this also helped later with the drop because while they are poised to go backwards they are more likely to do that nice fold up drop. After he is comfortable backing up in this manner, throw in a drop command.
Also, instead of a wall, I use my broad jump boards set up on their long sides.

John Heffernan said...

Are thinking of 2 different stations? I was referring to the backward heeling where the dog does not drop or sit.

Alice said...

Yes they are different stations. But just at the begining to get him used to backing up, I started by facing him. When he was able to step backwards smoothly I transitioned to the side. Later I used the backup facing him to get a good drop. I guess I was combining too many thoughts in to few sentences. Sorry.

stephanie from WW said...

Does he have a "get in" command to bring his butt in closer? That's what I use with Zoie for this station. She knows that "get back" means to back up and when she starts to swing wide with the rear, I use "get in" to bring it back into a better heel position. So, as I'm backing up, my verbal cue is "get back... in... back... in" etc. To teach "get in" put him in heel position. Put the leash behind your back, but hold in your right hand. Hold a treat at his nose with the left hand. Have him stand. Move to your right, guiding him with the treat and applying just enough pressure w/ your leash hand (still w/ leash behind your back) to prompt him to take one tiny side-step to the right. Reward for just moving even one foot a small side-step. You can also do it where you're trying to pivot in a counter-clockwise circle -- again, rewarding for the smallest lateral movement on the dog's part. Is this making sense?

stephanie from WW said...

Have you taught the command "leave it"? In my world, leave it means turn away from what you're looking at, and look to me instead... and when you do, you'll get a reward. In the beginning the reward is food and praise. With practice, I wean off the food, rewarding intermittently with food, but ALWAYS with praise, etc. If you do attention heeling, go back and proof your attention around food/toy items...

stephanie from WW said...

Opps. That last comment was in reference to the off-set fig. 8!

John Heffernan said...

Hi Stephanie,

Leave it we have but I would say it is not 100% with treats and food. I will try your side step advice. We do not have a "get in". I did not train the so-called power steering commands really (in, out, swing rear in, out, up, back). We do have an move up to me command. Maybe I still will. They seem very handy!