Gettin’ Tricksy With It
Let’s continue using our Ground Target to work on some jumping tricks! First we are going to lay the groundwork for teaching jumping over something. Using my arm against something (in this case, my coffee table, but you can use whatever works), I’m going to have the dog on one side, and the Ground Target on the other. Notice how my arm is very low. As soon as they go over my arm, even if they are just walking over to start, they get their treat! Continue to raise your arm (not too high depending on the dog, and their size/age/experience), and then start moving away from whatever you are using to block the one side as your dog is consistent. It might also take a bit of practice to get in to a rhythm. For me, I will let the dog get what’s on the Ground Target, then take another treat and put it behind me in such a way that they end up making one big, fluid circle around me!
We can also take this to a normal agility/obedience jump (at a low height to start, of course!) to build consistency with going through the jump standards confidently! This works best if you have someone to help you out. First, I make sure that the dog can easily tell where the Ground Target is (important especially in grass, since the target might get covered up a bit) by standing near it, then have the other person release. If this is successful, you can then just put the food on the Ground Target and step away so the dog doesn’t rely on you to tell them where it is!
Let’s do some more luring! For Bow, I tend to lure in to position and then reinforce said position. You’re going to put a treat right at their nose, and push them slightly backwards and down - I’m looking for the dog to almost put their elbows on to the ground. For many, this might cause them to go in to a down position. And that’s OK! If that happens, use it as feedback that you need to maybe reward little bits at a time before asking too much. The other thing you will notice is that I am then doing ANOTHER lure to get the dog back in to a stand position. Since I don’t want the dog to start in a sit, I make it so that isn’t even an option. Again, this is one that might take you a little to get in to a rhythm, as it’s a lot of treats changing hands kind of quickly! And if you are using a clicker that could make things a little more challenging! I’m not worried about duration yet, only about trying to build a bit of muscle memory for this position from a stand.
Here’s another popular trick - Roll Over! For this trick, we do want to start our dogs in a down. I generally just lure them in to that position, then begin from there. I take a treat to my dog’s nose, and keeping my hand pretty low, lure their head in to their body. My goal is to get them to lean on to their opposite shoulder, which then brings all of their legs out so they would then end up on their side. For some dogs, this is tough! Take your time, and be patient! Reward for little bits of extra effort from them. Your Roll Over won’t look very pretty at first, but as your dog gains confidence and a bit of muscle memory, it will get better.
If they get stuck, I do a treat toss to reset very frequently with this trick!
Ground Target: Work with your arm and/or a jump. Let’s see how excited they can be about jumping over to go to the target.
Bow: Get your dog comfortable going in to the bow position with the lure and without their wanting to go in to a down. Keep the duration very short at this point.
Roll Over: Get your dog used to rolling over in one direction using a food lure.