Fixing the Forging

We have a new technique to try and fix Lance's (well and Vito's) forging!  As most of you guys know, Lance is a huge forger during heeling.  He has gotten a ton better and usually needs only a few reminders in practice, but since he still needs reminders, during a trial Lance can be an entire body length ahead of me. 

What I have been doing to try and correct it is
- to always treat in line with my pant seam or occasionally throw treats behind me 
- do lots of left turns, perhaps even bringing my knee up as I'm turning and look for him to pivot cleanly out of my way (he's short, my knee doesn't touch him!)
- do lots and lots and lots of slow time, only break into normal pace if I'm happy with his position and always go back to slow if I'm unhappy.


My new plan is more of the left turns and slow time, but a different treat position!  Instead of lowering my left hand straight down my side to treat, I am instead treating from my right hand and having him go behind me to get it.  In theory he will forge less since not only is the reward always going to be behind him, but he has to go behind my body to get it!

I'm using the word behind right now as they were completely confused with me clicking or saying yes.  But it didn't take more then a few trials for them to understand that behind just means they get a treat if they go around me to my right side.  I was quickly able to start using it while actually heeling.

I've only done it for one session so I have no idea if it will actually help us or not or if we will stick with it.  I was just so excited by a new thing to try that I just had to share!  It wasn't my idea, I have stolen it from this video:

Kathie R  – ( September 30, 2010 at 9:42 AM )  

Laura, This looks like a great idea to try to prevent forging. I never thought I would have a forging problem with Jackson, but find that I do on the slow command in heeling. I've been doing left and about turns to keep him guessing. Seems to be working, but I'm anxious to try the behind the back treat. Great video - I love pit bulls :)

Ninso  – ( September 30, 2010 at 11:19 AM )  

Nice! Been working on some obedience with Jun lately. I've actually been pretty happy with her heeling, but she has forging issues too and circles left are still rough.

Kristen  – ( September 30, 2010 at 1:49 PM )  

A recent discovery was our forging decreased GREATLY if I would stop after the click and feed while stopped. I've only done this with one dog... but it makes sense to not reinforce any additional forward motion after marking.

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