In my last class, the trainer sent us all back to working on the six foot leash. Said the sits were too sloppy, not quick, not in front etc.
Her demo consisted of putting the dog in a sit, backing up to the end of the leash, calling, and taking up the leash quickly as he came. She "helps" him sit if he doesn't do so by pulling up on the leash when he's in front of her. Then repeat, and repeat and repeat. She did it very quickly. Over and over. It takes less than a minute from start to finish. Like closer to 30 seconds.
First of all I can't do it quickly. he does come when I call very willingly and he sits, but it's apt to be crooked. She said if that happened you were to notice his position as he was coming in and just keep backing up until he was in the right position before you stopped and he sat. I'm not having much luck with that.
Does anyone have any further hints? Or is that the best way to do it, and I just need to keep on? She never bent over and positioned the dog in front of her. It was all done in her backing up.
Seems like the further I back up the more apt he is to get excited and then the sits deteriorate!
I have been using a treat in my hands and holding my hands together, as low as they go and kind of guiding the dog in. Even if I do it from a heel, I step back my left foot, the dog moves to the front, and I guide with my hands into a straight front using the treat. It's helped Hudler alot.
Does he tend to be crooked in any one particular direction? So, if for instance he were to always sit with his rear a bit out to your left, you could stick your left leg out as a chute (or half of a chute) to get his rear into position. You can also practice the same idea by sitting in a chair, and using both your legs as a chute. Toss a treat out into the room (to get him away from you) and when you call him back to front, he has to position himself correctly in front because your legs are there to 'guide' him. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Do you use treats? If so, then you could hold the treat in your hand (either hand, but alternate) as as he approached, make a motion with both hands as though you were zipping up your pants and reward when he is in the correct position. Back up a little each time. If you can spit treats, it will help since he will not be concerned as to which hand the treat is in.
I was going to suggest some variation of both of the above posts
You could back up, like your instructor is suggesting, and they usually tell us to hold the treat in both hands, right at, well, right at your crotch level. As they come in, raise it o chest level. Their head should follow the treat up, and they end up sitting straight, looking up at you. In a perfect world, anyway.* Stop rewarding for crooked sits. Only reward the straight ones.
I was holding it in one hand, and Angus would come in every time and nose the hand with the treat, resulting in a crooked sit, facing the treat of course.
Another thing we've done in some of our classes is sort of like the legs thing Karen described, but using two boards. Set up a sort of "chute" that he has to come down in front of you, so that there is no room for his behind to go either way.
I have crooked fronts too, so I'm a great one to be giving advice.* Angus decided at our Show n Go to break tradition and try out a brand new front: He came in straight as an arrow, then at the last moment he twisted and sat perfectly perpendicular to me, his left side facing me. He did this three times in a row. He has never done it before. It was very weird. ??? I guess he thought it might catch on. It did not.*
Connie and "The Boys":
Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD
Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever
There are several things you can do:
- practice next to a curb or wall (works well if the dog is always crooked to one side)
- Use your broad jump boards (or even PVC poles) layed out in a V.* You stand at the narrow end of the V facing the wider end.* Call the dog.* The visual clues the dog to come straight in. You can also use those long green garden posts and hold them in your hands to guide the dog in.
- Use a raised board.* I have the dog sit tight and straight.* Measure from outside hip to outside hip and from front paws to end of his read.* Add 1" if you want.* Cut out the plywood to this dimension.* Nail 1x1s underneath to raise the board up.* Heel the dog over and around the board until he gets used to it.* Have him sit on it.* Now place the board in front of you (where you want the dog to sit).* Call the dog.* If he doesn't sit straight, he will fall off the board.
- Another thing you can make to work on fronts and finishes is a PVC device that sort of looks like this nu.* The top of the n and u should be lined up.* You stand behind (at the bottom) of the u and call the dog front.* Then send him to finish and he ends up in the n.* I hope that makes sense.* :-\
I caution people about using their legs (or arms for that matter) in positioning the dog.* Many dogs, especially sensitive ones, will stop coming all the way in (ie sit out of reach)* to prevent being pushed by the leg.
Another thing to do is start adding a verbal cue to help him. With Ruger, I'd tell him "tighten up" which simply meant he needed to scoot up closer to my crotch (he has a habit of stopping too far back from me... close enough to qualify, but I want him tighter to me). He quickly understood the verbal and I no longer had to use the leash to bring him closer.
Also, try when he is in front of you, sitting, square or crooked. You just take on step back and ask your dog to "front" again. It's opposite of what your instructor is doing (walking back several steps) but it gives the dog enough room/motivation to get up and reposition himself. Praise lavishly for a straight sit, for a crooked sit step back again and say "front". I would use food for this or a favorite toy for reward.
Connie has given great examples. I do as Linda says. If I'm working on straight fronts, I take very quick and short steps, only one or two, backwards and have him sit. I don't give him a chance to change to a crooked sit. I back up again and again. As he gets better, I take more and more steps backwards before I ask for a sit. If he goes back to crooked sits, I shorten up again. Remember, you have to do this thousands of times sometimes before it clicks in their heads.
Eiderdowns That's My Buddy
CDX, RE, WC, CGC, TDInc.