On Monday night at Rally FrEe class, we met the "dog backs around handler" sign. I call this "donut". This is one thing that I have never taught any of my dogs to do fluently.
Dean has done the work in an x-pen, or with pieces of furniture and boxes all round him, but only starting and ending in the side position. Never from heel. He can do this with a lure from the side position, but not from heel.
Tessa has never done anything with it.
So, this morning we worked on this. I worked with Dean in a corner formed when I close the doors to the two back bedrooms. I always start this by getting the dog into position and then using a treat magnet to draw the dog slightly forward. Then I take my hand away and the dog usually backs right back into the original position, since that is a position of high reinforcement. I have to be careful not to pull the dog too far out of position at first, or the dog will likely just pop out altogether. This is one advantage of using an x-pen, but my home made one is out in the shed right now.
I worked on this with Dean, working off of heel, and he picked it up quickly. By the end of the session, he was doing almost a half circle. We worked off of side, as well, which is much more familiar to him.
I knew that Tessa would probably balk at working in a corner, so I just set a line with two kitchen chairs. I set her up in heel, and used the treat magnet to draw her out just slightly. She immediately backed herself into heel position! Good girl!! We worked up to her backing from being about 4 - 6 inches out of heel position. We are going to take this slow so she really understands the process. She worked even better off of side.
I'm thinking it's time to get my makeshift x-pen out and set it up to work on this. It would be good for them both to be able to back all the way around so they can start to offer the full behavior when ready.
Both dogs also did paw work with the wooden spoon, both worked on moving toward me in center position and backing away in center. Dean worked a few laterals. Tessa and I took a break from laterals and pivots today. I did a little bit of work with Tessa on verbal cues, as well.
After doing some heeling through the house, Speedy worked on pulling a tug toy out from under a piece of furniture. This is for an Advanced trick that I think he can learn toward his Advanced Tricks title.
Sammie also took a break from his usual mat exercise and we worked on pushing an object across the floor. He liked that!