Teaching a reverse about turn... if that makes sense

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Postby Malli » February 17th, 2006, 9:25 pm

Ok, so my vocabulary has slipped my mind... Oscar and I do a "showring" or protection style heal. Sit on the stop, goose step or verbal command to start, zig-zags, about turns, turns on the spot, pace keeping (he keeps the pace I set, i.e. fast run drop to a walk and so on), we can't turn backwards. I've lost the term for it and don't know how else to explain it... I can't figure out how to teach him to walk backwards, if I motivated with a toy he'd get all excited and jump sideways and forget what he's doing. I've tried physically showing him what I want him to do and praising... I've also tried corrections to see if he's just f-ing around...
:|

suggestions?

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Postby mnp13 » February 18th, 2006, 12:03 am

Have you ever seen tapes of Ivan Balabanov(sp)?

He does a lot of motivational work and has some very interesting methods. He teaches some techniques to get your dog to move backwards into the heel position and that might translate well into teaching him to walk backwards as well.
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Postby Malli » February 18th, 2006, 1:40 am

I have not, I'm not very in-the-know on different trainers, I have to say :oops:

Have you taught your dogs this? It is one of the most impressive things-IMO- I see in the heal. Its crazy to see all the foot work that goes into getting the dog to creep effortlessly backwards beside the handler...

I'll have to look into that guy...

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Postby mnp13 » February 18th, 2006, 1:49 am

You'll have to wait for Chris Fraize and Demo to weigh in.

I haven't taught it. I can't get Ruby to attention heel, forget heeling backwards!
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Postby DemoDick » February 18th, 2006, 1:02 pm

I started a thread about this below to get people's thoughts.

You'll need a partner to do this, but this is how I would teach it. Mind you, I've never taught it so this one is off the cuff. Chris probably has a better method.

Have your partner stand with the food reward or ball or tug or whatever. Make sure the dog is stimulated to focus on the reward. Put him in a sit. Next, get into the backwards heel position (face the opposite direction from the dog with him on your right side) and deliver the backwards heel command. Then verbally release the dog to take the reward and praise. Repeat this for the next few lessons.

I would then proceed by setting your partner up the same way, putting your dog in a sit in proper heel (left side) and then delivering the backwards heel command. If you need to guide the dog into position by pulling the leash in front of you and have your partner stimulate him a little with the reward then go ahead. Just make sure the dog is orienting his position to your right leg.

Once the dog will move into the backwards heel starting position reliably I would go to the next step.

Now take one step at a time forward while your partner walks lock-step with you. I wouldn't worry about auto-sits on the stop because ultimately the dog is going to be moving with you the whole time anyway. Just make sure that you don't release and reward the dog unless he is in perfect position. Ensure that your partner works to hold the dog's attention without enticing him to move out of position (have him jiggle the tug a little). You may want to implement leash corrections at this point.

Now it's just a matter of perfect, consistent repetition.

Again, this is how I THINK I would train this particular behavior. Having never done it I don't know if this is the standard way.

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Postby pocketpit » February 19th, 2006, 4:38 pm

That's similar to how we teach the backwards heeling portion for the defense of handler exercise in ring.
Initially the helper starts out in front with the object of interest (for our dogs he's wearing the suit or a leg sleeve but a tug would work as well) and you have your dog in heel position. The helper then passes behind you on your right hand side and ends up behind you. With your dog in heel position, you both turn towards the right but once the dog is facing the decoy the handler can then rotate their body so they are facing the original direction and encourage the dog to back up with small leash pops. It's very important that your helper be interesting enough to maintain the dog's focus on the toy so that he doesn't react stongly to the leash pops or akward position but the helper also has to be careful not to overstimulate the dog so that it's not thinking clearly or breaking position too much.
When encouraging the backward walk I always use a cue word like "back" and because it's ring and the senario is always the same I actually start with "goodbye" which cues my dog to come around the front of me and heel backwards. Whatever you want to use will work the idea is just to give the dog a cue that will help him understand what is expected of him and make learning easier. Eventually the cue word will trigger the dog to move around the handler all on his own.
It's a fairly easy exercise to teach with a helper but I would imagine a very difficult one to teach without someone or something to hold the dog's attention.
When someone says "reverse about turn" I automatically think an about turn to the left rather than the traditional right so hopefully the above informatino is what you were looking for and not how to teach the dog to move back out of your way as you make a left about turn!
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Postby Malli » February 20th, 2006, 11:11 pm

thats exactly what I meant, to teach the dog how to circle me, when we do a counter-clockwise, or left about turn.

Thanks for the tips!

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