I've known this was going to be one of the hardest things to teach so I've been working with Moose on and off for the last few months. He knows the command back because that is what I have always used when I want him to back up so I can go in front of him. But having him at my side creates so many problems. First just getting him to stand is a chore and then as soon as I say back he sits. I work with him next to a wall so he can only swing one direction, but darn if that big butt doesn't just go everywhere. Tonight we were working next to a fence and I tried using the leash as a laso so he couldn't swing - that didn't work to well. Then I just tried using my foot to keep him from sitting, but then I couldn't back up. UGH! help - any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
By the way, I am using the clicker with this hoping to help it along - but I haven't yet been able to click much
Sharon, loved by Moose & Sky
Well, practicing against a wall is what I was going to suggest.
Does he know "stand?" I think if he he kept sitting while trying to back up, I would say "eh eh" to let him know the instant he went wrong, and then say "stand."
Are you moving slow? In class they always say to reward after only one step in the beginning.
Are you luring with food? If you are, and you are holding the treat up over his head and that's the same way you taught him to sit, could this be causing the confusion?
These are my only [sleepy] thoughts at the moment. :P
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 Connie. I don't use treats much with Moose because he gets too overly excited. I have to really minimize the treats which is why I thought I would use the clicker. If he just got it right then he could get the treat without luring him with the treat. He knows stand, but for some reason as soon as I move he just doesn't seem to know what to do. It could be because with Stand he has to stay put, the moving concept is just messing him up.
Guess I'll just keep at it, and hope for a break thru. If someone has any different ways to approach I would greatly appreciate it.
Sharon, loved by Moose & Sky
Try going in a left circle, telling him back as you go and decrease the size of the circle. Watch that you don't get dizzy!! ;D Then try backing up one or two steps. This is the way I taught the left pivot which can help with backing up. You also can do it in front of them and then move yourself to heel for one or two steps.
"In moments of joy all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag." W. H. Auden
Linda, Kona and Bo
You said he knows the command back, but I couldn't quite grasp what it is you are doing when he backs up. I started Emilu on the wall, but she hand lures beautifully, especially with a treat in hand. I think that Skippy is going to be too excited by treats too, but I'm not sure cuz I'm just starting to work with him agian. I also taught Emilu to back by having her stand in front of me, and I just said, "back,back,back" and walked into her, and she would back up. If she started to sit, I just said, "no, stand, then give the back command again. She had never backed up at all, so I thought this would help her get the feeling for it. It really didn't take her very long to get the hang of a very acceptable "three steps back". I still use my hand in front and to the left a little (so her butt stays in), but of course, no treats.
A rally judge helped me with this one.
Ruger also would sit every time we tried to do "back". A local judge was working with me and I showed her what he was doing. I started to ask him to back, and he sat (I had him on leash). The judge looked at him sitting there, looked at me, and said, "Well, just keep asking him to back."
I looked at her, confused and started to get Ruger into the standing position.
She said, "No, do it right from there, with him sitting, you stay in heel position and just keep tugging him back and telling him to back."
By God, it worked.
It threw him off balance the first time, but he immediately realized sitting wasn't the option here, he had to keep it in motion and back up.
Now, Ruger acutally LOVES to back, we do it as a fun little dance step and he grins from ear to ear.
Well go figure - I was showing my SU what I was trying to work on in the den. I put Moose in heel and told him back so my SU could see how he swings and sits. Well of course Moose backup up! Maybe he did get what I was trying to work on the other night - or he didn't like it and finally figured out it was easier just to back up so I wouldn't mess with him
Sharon, loved by Moose & Sky
We practiced on a wall too. And doing the constant tugging back if they fell into a sit. Even a well placed little toe step can get them moving too.
Sometimes when we are doing things like left 360's I use a combined command of back to get the backwards motion and a heel thrown in to keep them close at my side.
I have the book Rally On by Marie Sawford and she has great tips and training methods for all the problem situations. http://www.dogsportmagazine.com/
I used the wall for Libby at one point, then realized that it would only work for us when she was next to a wall. Outside, all bets were off. I then found out that I could basically get her to go anywhere with a guidance stick...basically I used a dressage whip (for a horse) or about a 3-ft stick of some sort to help guide her backward by placing it on her other side (opposite from me). If I needed to, I would lightly tap her (no, not whip her...just a light tap...it didn't take much) to remind her to swing her butt back in. Usually, just having it there, she would bump up against it and re-position herself when backing up. Just another possibility to try...
~Julie, Rogue, Monty, and Eddy~
"The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue." -Anon