Okay, Ruger does a very, very, very, very slow down. Always has. He will go down, but it is in super slow motion. I've run back to him and physically forced him down, but this isn't helping the matter at all (and is, in fact, making him a tad fearful).
Any advice for getting a quick, fast, snappy down. If I can get it at home, I know I'll get at least a bit faster down at the show.
This is for Utility signal exercise.
Thank you for any advice.
Just wanted to add... if I do sit, down, sit, down, sit, down, he will do it quite fast. It's when he has to down from a stand that is killing us.
I know some people throw toys or treats behind the dog once they are down but I've never been that good at aiming.
If Ruger is at all ball motivated, I'd use that to your advantage particularly in utility.
I used a tennis ball for motivation for most of Murray's utility training. At first I held the ball in my signal hand. I would do the signal for the down. When Murray was down, I'd toss the ball to him. The faster he went down, the faster he got the ball. They catch on pretty quickly. Then we would do down/sit and I'd toss the ball. Once he understood the exercises, I never let him know when I'd throw the ball sometimes it was after the down sometimes after the finish, sometimes it was as he was coming into me and I'd throw it behind me to speed him up. I used a smaller and smaller ball so he never knows when I have it. Our current ball is about 1" in diameter...it fits in my coin pocket in the front of my jeans and hides very well under my armpit or in the palm of my hand or between the knuckles of 2 fingers. You can also hold the ball under your chin to ensure you have their undivided attention too. ;D
FYI, I used the ball to teach directed jumping by tossing the ball as I gave my signal. I also used it in open to teach a hand signal for the broad jump. I also use it for heeling by tossing it out in front of us at different points during the pattern (ie to speed up about turns, or the fast, or just because he's done something well). I use it for reward on the go outs too. It's really a valuable tool.
It I'm closer to him he will be a bit faster because he's afraid I'm going to push him down. But not that much faster.
Lydia, the ball isn't motivating him to down faster. It has given me very snappy fast sits from the down, but not fast downs from the stand.
I sometimes wonder if he isn't having issues with his hocks or hips... (hips are not all that great and his hocks tend to swell but there is no limping).
Oh, I tried throwing his leash or chain at him (when training for the drop on recall) but it didn't make him down any faster... it only served to stop his forward motion faster.
I'm just wondering about this as the judge commented this weekend about his down. She asked me if he was "tired" she said she didn't think he'd ever go down. But honestly, that's his way of doing down and I don't know what to do to fix it. I don't want to chance hurting him so much use some sort of trickery or bribery.