Emilu has always layed over on her hip for her "down". Our first instructor taught us this way because she said that they are less likely to get up from their long downs if they lay this way. I am now trying to teach her a "sphinx down" , with her back legs up under her and front feet out front, for the "drop on recall" I am also changing my hand signal to the one that most people seem to do (arm shoots straight up in the air, then brought down) Right now I am putting my hand up, but the actual signal was as I bring it down and point towards the floor. First question - how do I teach her to get her back legs under her? I am putting a thick board in front of her so she won't put her feet forward, but she still manages to lay back on her haunches - she just doens't know that I want her to put her feet under her and I dont' know who to show her. Also - Do you guys use a different signal for the long down and the drop on recall? If so, what signal do you use for the down/stay (not the stay sign, but the down one). If you use the same sign, do you step in front of the dog , give the down signal and then go back to heel before giving the stay signal? We are also working on a kick-back stand, to help her involve her back end better, and she is picking this up pretty quickly, also making sure she sits by moving her front feet back instead of back feet forward, which she is also getting nicely - but she can't figure out the sphinx drop.
My signal for the drop on recall and utility down are the same--like a police officer's hand when he wants to stop traffic. Now, mind you, some will disagree--you need to find what works for her. This my third Lab I have trained and I have now used three different signals.
Another method you can try along with the board in front is have her on a stand, put the food towards her chest as you command "down" and reward only if she goes down square. Make a big fuss when she finally does go down square. I re-taugh Caleb his down wihtout it being a huge ordeal. Once they begin to get the idea, they catch on quickly.
UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN
Something that is helping Hoss is to teach a "down-back", where they back up in a down position. They HAVE to be in a sphinx position in order to back up while in the down position.
o.k. I suck at descriptions....
It is fairly easy to teach, by taking a treat and going back and forth in front of the dogs face from one side of the muzzle to the other. Reward even the slightest movement backwards at first. You may have to step into the dog a bit to get the backward motion started. I repeated the work "back" once they started to get the idea. Eventually they get the idea and you can gradually change the hand signal from the waving food in their face to waving hand motions as though you are "shooing" something away from you.
Once they know back-up while they are already in a down position, you can back them up all over the place with just a hand flick. (Looks kinda neat!)
Then incorporate that hand flick into your down signal. SOOOOO, when the dog downs, it shifts its weight back into a sphinx in prep to back-up. Helps a lot for the Drop on Recall as they do not travel forward, but shift their weight backwards, thinking you are going to ask them to back-up!
For the long downs, you should not be moving your position in front to down the dog. You need to remain in heel position. Just stand in heel position and command "down" or, if you need extra motivation, bend over and point to the ground saying "down".
For the moving down I use voice commands only. Come/down/come
For the utility down I use the hand signal almost as you describe except I start my signal low and in front of me, move my arm up to "salute" then back down (palm is always facing the dog). It's a bigger signal that way so I can ensure that I have Murray's attention.
One of the people I train with who has UDX dogs uses a pushing motion to down her dogs for the DOR and the Utility down. She starts by stepping towards the dog, pushing her hand towards the dog (like she was going to shove someone) keeping her palm facing the dog, and saying "down". She eventually fades the verbal and the step so all that is left is the pushing motion. She finds that this makes the dog stop quicker for the DOR and the motion kind of reminds the dog to fold back to down instead of forward
You can also train the fold back down by standing directly in front of the dog so they can't move forward to down. Have the dog sitting in the front position and tell her to down.
Also, if you practice puppy sit ups (ask for quick sit, down, sit, down) she will learn that the sphinx position is better for sitting up quickly. If she rolls over to her hip and you say "sit' she can't immediately sit so correct her (pop her up to a sit). She needs to learn to beat the correction and will learn to lay down straight.
You can also practice the downs while heeling by having her drop quickly at your side. Call heel and move out as soon as she is down. Don't give her time to roll over on her hip. Gradually increase the length of time that she is down but don't let her roll over. If she starts to, then call heel and pop her up.
I also want to point out that the sphinx position is not comfortable for all dogs. Older dogs and dogs that have hip issues will prefer to roll over to one hip. There are no points off for this. There isn't anything in the regs that say a dog must lay in the sphinx position.
Agree with Lydia, on the long down you do not move out of heel position but you can say down and point to the ground.
On the drop on recall I used only a voice command. For utility I use a full arm swing. I take my arm around behind me and up and over and down (like a swimming stroke). I do it slowly too because Ruger tends to do it VERY slowly or doesn't watch me
On teaching the drop on recall what really helped me was to throw his leash at him as I yelled Down. It helped him to fold himself back into the down position. I've never taught him to lay on his side (shoulder down) so haven't worried about it. Some people use a "throw chain" That scared him, but I could ball up his leash and throw it in front of him to help him stop quickly and down.
Just a note, be aware that if you have to give your dog two commands to get them in the shoulder down position (such as "down" and then "side" or "lie over" and the judge catches you doing it, you can get an NQ)
Well, Angus has always done a sphinx down, and refuses to do it any other way. :-\ This is great, except he is much more likely to get up on the long down from a sphinx position (and he does).
We did have a little bit of a hard time teaching him down from a stand for the moving down. My instructor suggested pushing a reward (ball, treat, whatever) into his chest, then down towards the floor, so he has to sort of back up to get it. Does that make sense? His head goes down into his chest and back towards the treat or ball, and it seems to trigger the right motion for a stand to a down, rather than sit to a down, which is what he had always done.
Don't know if this will help with your thing or not, but maybe some part of it will.
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
Thanks for your replies. I will stop stepping alittle to the front of her in the long/down. No one said I couldn't and usually my advanced instructor will catch stuff like this and tell us we shouldn't do it. I always wondered about that. The instructor tonight (new one) showed my how to have her stand and take the treat right down past her face and to the ground to help get her to go straight down. I was almost thinking it was a little hard for her to lay that way because of her weight, but I've seen her do it on other occasions (such as when she wants to play with another dog) so I know she can physically do it. I've also gotten her to do it by doing the fast commands from sit to down, so that should help too. Just have to change and adjust a few things. She is going through another learning spurt and doing really well. I starting to get excited and hopeful about RAlly Advanced.