Learning how to pivot on my right

I am currently working on putting together a freestyle routine for Lance.  I have no idea what I'm doing and am going back and forth (repeatedly!) between two songs but I am having a blast sequencing his heel work and tricks.  What I discovered today though is that Lance does not have any concept of "side" (heeling on the right) like I thought.  While he will walk with me in relative position he has no clue how to pivot, side step, back up, or really do anything on my right side.  So back to the drawing board and since I have never taught Lance to pivot on my right I thought I would share the experience of Lance learning.  The video's not meant as a how to, more of a compilation of some of the steps and then their first session of the pivoting in side.



I start teaching pivoting for heel and side on a block.  Lance already knew that his job was to keep both feet on the block and how to pivot his back feet while in front of me in both directions so most of the work was already done.  If you have not taught that yet then start shaping now!

I then aimed to use luring to get Lance to move into Side position and heavily reward him standing on my right.  Moving the treat to his right shoulder caused Lance to turn his head to get it and do a little pivot.  Since Lance already knew how to physically pivot clockwise I was quickly able to get him doing it with me and without a visible treat.  This morphed into a new hand signal and my attempts to do it without the block.  I think we did a pretty good job!

I then aimed to teach him to side step on my right.  I couldn't remember how I taught Lance to side step on the left so I winged it and thought I could use his new right side pivot skills to get him to move sideways.  I started by luring him, treat to his right shoulder blade, but this confused the crap out of him :)  So then I started asking him to pivot on the right and once he got going I quickly took a direct step to my left.  This kind've tricked Lance's body into doing a side step!  He isn't straight at all but he is at least starting to get the concept of moving his back feet to keep parallel with me.

I realized afterward that my new hand signal is very very similiar to my hand signal to limp on the left leg.  Hence Lance's leg being off the ground a lot in the video!  I'm thinking my pivot hand signal needs to change!

Crystal  – ( February 2, 2010 at 6:42 AM )  

Unrelated, but did you see that you were nominated for some fancy blog award: http://www.pawcurious.com/brodies/

You didn't make the voting round, so scroll down to where all the nominees are!

Lindsay  – ( February 2, 2010 at 10:00 AM )  

I know that you said the video isn't meant as a how to, but I think it's great for giving people an idea of how to train the pivot! I'm definitely going to try that with my dogs. I've kind of been wondering how I was going to train that. I've already taught them to pivot around a phone book and balance disc just to kind of help with body awareness, but this is a great idea! Your dogs look so happy while you're training them!

Nadja  – ( February 2, 2010 at 10:20 AM )  

So, i was wondering. When you teach your dogs new stuff, do you always put your other dog somewhere else? And how does that work out?

Ninso  – ( February 2, 2010 at 10:33 AM )  

Great vid! I love how Vito doesn't seem to have any control of his butt when he's in "side" position. It just swings him right around to front. Jun does the same thing.

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( February 2, 2010 at 9:54 PM )  

Nope I just leave everyone out. My rule is that the other dog can be in the same area, he just can't interfere with the other one. Occasionally I yell at dog #2 to "shoo" but usually they're pretty good and just lie down and watch the other.

I was lucky that my crazy one (Vito!) learned this rule from an early age. Lance is just such an easy dog that he never had a problem with it. Although lance does tremble uncontrollably if I train the kitty before him (heaven forbid!).

I understand that this is a problem for a lot of people. So usually you need a second person to help you in rewarding dog #2 for being quiet. It also helps if you give dog #2 a job to do: go to mat, remaining in an open kennel, down on the agility table, etc. It takes a lot of impulse control from the dog, patience on the part of the trainer, and ideally a second set of hands to help in rewarding.

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( February 2, 2010 at 9:55 PM )  

huh, I never heard of the Brodies before. I can see why I didn't make it, I mean who can compete with Patrica McConnell!

Dog Foster Mom  – ( February 3, 2010 at 12:21 PM )  

I just found your blog (from Mango Minster) and love it! Most of it is over my head - but it is very interesting to read. Since I foster, I spend most of my time doing beginning obedience and manners training with my foster dogs. Things like "don't jump up" and "don't eat the wall" and so on. We usually don't get much beyond "sit" before they're adopted. But I keep wanting to make time to train my own two dogs past the beginning obedience classes that they've been through. I look forward to reading more about your training and your pets.

Muttsandaklutz  – ( February 3, 2010 at 4:53 PM )  

Fun to see the dogs' progression in that video. I got a giggle out of how Vito and your right side seemed to be like the wrong ends of magnets :-) but he totally got it in the end. Great job.

achieve1dream  – ( February 4, 2010 at 10:38 AM )  

That was fantastic! Lance and Vito are so smart!

Honey the Great Dane  – ( February 4, 2010 at 4:01 PM )  

Oh how exciting that you're putting together a Freestyle routine! Can't wait to see it! YOu should post a video of some of the training sessions. I know people usually only think of posting finished routines but it's actually very interesting to see the process of how the different parts are put together!

About your question on why we didn't join a local obedience club, it's hard with a giant breed coz we really are very "different" and are not always made to feel very welcome. I know your dogs may not be the classic Border Collies but at least they are working breeds - it is a totally different level when you're working with a giant mastiff type breed and the VERY low drive. We had a bad experience back in Auckland at the club we used to belong to - some of the other older members (who are all only into German Shepherds) kept making nasty comments about Honey and her slowness and lack of sharpness in Heeling, etc and I just decided that I had enough - I wasn't going to put myself in that sort of atmosphere for my dog to be insulted. It is not that I think Honey is perfect but she is pretty damn good for a Dane and we are trying but she is never going to whip around like a Border Collie - it just isn't physically possible nor do I necessarily want her to behave like that kind of machine dog. I don't really care about titles & ribbons but the quality time I'm spending with my dog. Beside, I thought the woman had a bloody nerve since she had never trained anythign but German Shepherds her entire life - wait until she has trained a giant mastiff breed or terrier or sighthound or other "difficult" breed to achieve anything and THEN maybe she has the right to comment! It's like someone driving up a mountain in a 4WD laughing at someone pedalling up in a bicycle and saying "Can't you go any faster?"

If I find a nice, open-minded club, I would consider joining but in general, I don't like the competitive, clique-y atmosphere at a lot of them. At the RSPCA, it is a bit slow and unchallenging but we don't have any specific goals anyway - I don't actually need to join a class to work on perfect finishes or left turns, etc. - I can do that myself at home - just want somewhere to take Honey for social reasons and this way the money is going to a good cause too. Anyway, hopefully, once we finish this course, we can move up to the next "Dog Sport Prep" which then prepares us to try out Flyball which I'm really keen to try!

Hsin-Yi

Daisy  –   – ( February 11, 2010 at 9:12 PM )  

I stuck in " side step"....
,who has watched this vid thousands of times..:)

Daisy

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