And here comes your last list!
1. add duration and distractions to heeling – try it in different environments, reward a lot there, but apart from that, start adding more duration: reward every couple of steps with a small reward first, then do a really long distance and big jackpot for it – then a couple of steps for a small reward and long distance for a great reward again – vary it a lot for them to be able to see the pattern that the longer there is no reward, the better!
2. pick up the object to hug it – if the dog can already hold an object independently, put it on the floor and see if he can solve the problem and pick it up with a muzzle to get a hold of it with a paw
3. get a ball for kids, hold it with your feet so that it doesn’t move too much at first and click for front legs on – then release your feet a little bit so that it starts to move and the dog needs to balance on it. Now click for little steps on the ball, the final goal is the dog walking ahead with hind feet on the ground and front feet rolling the ball. Great for balance and coordination and for getting used to objects moving under the feet.
4. “sit up” to “stand up” and back and “down” to “sit up” and back – great for strength in the back, especially important for those who will be doing agility. Down to sit up and back should go easy, use a hand signal together with your verbal cues. First, reward even if the dog goes into sit for a second, but then try to get rid of it and go for direct transitions from one position to another. Sit up to stand up is easy too, you can use a lure for that one. Going back to sit up (without falling in sit first) is hard, so offer your hand as a support so that the dog can lean on it and then click for any knee bending until actually going into sit up. This is conditioning exercise, so you can help some more with lures if necessary, but as always – don’t do it so much that the dog would be sore after, you need to build muscle and balance gradually.
5. another great warming up exercise to stretch the dog before the run: spins to left&right and figure 8 forward. I teach it with a nose touch, putting a hand for a nose touch on the right spot (somewhere at the dog’s hip) to get a spin, then getting more&more spins in the same direction in a row, fading the hand and putting it on verbal cue left &right – very useful also on a course! I also do figure 8 forward with a nose touch, putting a hand so that the dog comes between the legs, rewarding at the side and then again the other direction. Fade the hand then into hand signal and then completely, using just a verbal cue. I simply use cik&cap.
And yes, sure, that nose targeting is almost as luring and if you wanted, you can also shape it instead. I will sometimes lure as sometimes, it is the easiest way to the goal. I never lure at the very beginning stages as I want a puppy to understand the concept of shaping first because many things simply can’t be taught by luring, so at one point, you need a dog who will offer behaviors. If you always help with easy tricks and then count on simply going to shaping when needed, you’ll get in trouble. But I don’t have a problem with going the other way around: first only shape, but later on do some luring or targeting when teaching something like figure 8, spins or sit up to stand up.
6. limping: click for one paw in the air (front or rear, whatever you prefer), add a little bit duration and then start clicking for any movements or weight shift of other 3 legs. Shape towards a real step and slowly add more&more to get limping on front/rear foot.
You again have 2 weeks to work on those exercises and post videos to comment and suggestions for improvements. Then, I will open a new, "graduation page" and this will be your very last assignment: making a video of everything you learned in this class – without training sessions as such, but finished version of tricks, some breakthrough moments, some playing, city walking and everything else you did with your dog for this class (using what you already taped or taping some more). Those videos will be your graduation work, you will get a “LoLaBuLand puppy class graduate” certificate and as a gift, a download link to a training DVD of your choice (see the training videos website to choose one). Auditors are more than welcome to post graduation videos too!
I hope to see many of you also in Foundations, starting 17th of October! And mid-November, "More Tricks" class will be starting too!