Monday, October 31, 2011

Titan learns to move off leash pressure

Even a young puppy can learn how to move off the leash pressure, an exercise to teach the dog how to move their rear.  Dogs don't seem to understand that their rear end can be independent of the front, so there are a numer of exercises that can help with the hind-end awareness.  This is one of them.  Once mastered, it makes for a very precise left turn!

Titan works on a flat collar.  The treat is trapped under the thumb and first finger against the palm and the hand is held on the outside of the muzzle.  The handler puts pressure on the leash, drawing it straight across in front of his body, which creates an opposition effect.  The dog moves the opposite direction of the pressure and into the hand, and just as soon as the rear end moves, the pressure is released, the behavior is marked and rewarded.  It is very important that you release the leash pressure immediately as the dog complies when he is learning.

Over-exaggeration is good.  We bring the dog behind our knee once he knows how to move off the pressure.  From here, you can continue and teach the dog to back around you and back to heel position.  But this is what the first steps look like. Titan doesn't even realize he is being taught a new behavior!  He thinks this is simply another opportunity to earn treats!