I feel like we are making good progress. His fronts have become a bit more dynamic! And he hasn't had a meltdown in a session since we started the program and I started paying more attention to how he's feeling during training as well as incorporating all your food games so big thank you there!
I also feel like it is time to ask if my videos are too long haha'' Are they painful to get through?
Oh and also, let me know if you need help with that unwanted auto-down, or if this was just a brainfart he was having.
Feeding mechanics in this video - Great! And I know you just saw it, but in case you ever want to review, it is Level 2 Homework 1 that specifies my recommended feeding mechanics.
Heeling hand position - Ok, based on how pretty of a picture I see in his stationary heel position, and the history of wonky positioning in heel in motion, I'd actually like you to play with having your hand behind your back (how you have it here) for Level 4.
Level 4 is going to reintroduce heeling forward, and it's going to be the opposite of your previous fix (moving faster). We want the pretty picture he has stationary to generalize to in motion, and we're going to build that picture back up in a way that makes the dog very thoughtful about continuously recommitting to heel position. (Which is the same way that I teach it to green dogs!)
For the record - IMO there's nothing wrong with using luring to teach heel; it's just a different method than I use in this curriculum.
Spins - Yes, I think you understand the spin->reward I'm describing. It's the same thing that I demo'd in one of the reps of that video with Cupid that I made for you.
Sidesteps - I think that pivot work on the foot target is the best prep for sidestep in heel, since it is usually the rear the lags behind when people attempt it.
Crabbing - For heelwork, yes, crabbing refers to their rear being out to the left. "Crabbing" technically refers to any time a dog is crab-walking, but that is when it happens in heelwork. He is crabbing to look at your right hand more easily, since that's where the action of the cookies has been happening - would be my guess!
Thank you so much for the detailed response! I tried to implement most of your notes into today's sessions! I recorded the second one (Below)
Yep we've played the eye contact game before :) My trainer before you taught it to us in puppy class! Waco is really great at offering eye contact so I tried to up the ante by including Hannah Brannigan's zen bowl and also moving my hands more and closer to his head. I definitely wanna keep pushing this.and haha yeah you're right about it looking kinda neat sped up!
Yeaaah... my mechanics are such a mess. I desperately need help there. I think Waco has only gotten as far as he has in spite of me lol I'm trying to be more thoughtful about it but yes. I need to glue my right hand behind my back and be more careful about food delivery. Thank you so much for pointing it all out! I ditched my treat pouch and started loading my right hand instead for most of the session I recorded. Also yep no, again, my bad on the luring in heel. I was just getting all up in my head that he wasn't going to follow me if I didn't since we're not moving fast in the barrier exercises (speed was how I dealt with his lagging before). In the video below the first clip shows how I basically used to hold my hand in trial. I will quit doing that luring nonsense.
I'm also gonna try and start building in the spin in heel before a reward! I think I know what you mean when you say this; right as I'm thinking about ending a heel sequence ask for a spin and then transition into reward time? I like that idea! Waco is a clunky spinner so this sounds like a good way to improve that too haha He is not naturally graceful so any fluidity he has been hard earned hah
No worries on the sidestep in front thing! I was just playing around with it I don't think I actually need it ever in rally? I just know that there is a side step right in heel sign that I thought this might help him build fluidity for.
Btw is it crabbing when his butt curves around behind me to the right? Cause he's been doing that a lot ): He does it the most when he's excited about the reward...
Eye contact game - looks great! He seems to know this one already!?
I noticed some slight glancing when you added movement from your hand. This could be a fun thing to expand on, though not crucial to your rally progress. Just a fun prompt for a rainy day, and a great "focus" game. :-)
Nondog related - Ah the second rep where you do this looks strangely artistic with your slow arm motions on fast speed.
Teardrop finish - Lovely! It doesn't affect him in this rep, but I noticed that you do a lure with your right hand. I only do cues with my right hand for heel stuff with a huge amount of caution - drawing the head to the right causes the head to over-wrap and the dog to forge and crab (sometimes slowly over time).
Same for feeding from the right hand + dog (in heel) watching you get treats from your pouch on your right hip.
There are quite a few alternatives to this:
Treat pouch behind your back (as long as the dog doesn't lean back to watch behind them).
Preload treats into hand before the finish. Treats in left hand is obviously an option, but for more of a "trial picture" (less luring), you can have the treats in your right hand, and then pass them to your left hand (behind your back) AFTER you mark.
You can cue your dog to spin from heel - often predicting a reward for my dogs, so "spin from heel = dopamine dump already, high anticipation of a reward." Then after they've spun, you can do food play without having to worry about the heel reward mechanics. (Hope that makes sense. Ask me to clarify if not!)
Target on cue - beautiful.
Turns on the target - absolutely lovely!
Heel with barrier - same mechanics note as above for him watching treats move across your stomach region. There are lots of reps of this, so I see this is going to be a huge ask on your muscle memory. I'm sorry it will probably be a pain in the butt to be conscious about!
Downs and sits in heel look beautiful.
How have you normally held your left hand in rally trials?
I see you heeling forward with a target. That's absolutely fine, but I just want to make sure that you are adding that on your own, and that the level's heeling directions are clear about being written without a hand target.
Front in motion - Looks good! I think I see you playing with some side-step-y moves. For the record, I don't personally have experience teaching dogs to re-find "front" via straight-up sidesteps, but I have seen others do it, so it is possible! I just may not be able to help with it at this time.
Wrap - Good start! I like how he increases speed as his confidence in the pattern increases.
The length of videos feel perfect so far, since you're combining all the homework into 1 video. Thank you for asking. :-)
I'm so glad to hear that I'm helping eliminate meltdowns!!!