Step 9: Pivot, One Step Forward .
The journey of one thousand miles begins with one step. Practice that one step forward many, many times so that the dog, right from the moment you step off, is never ahead of your body. Make your movements fast and snappy, click and get the treat right to the “sweet spot” immediately. Remember, if you can’t hold treats in your hand, a food tube of canned dog food works wonders. Be sure to stop to treat!
Step 10: Human Mechanics for Connect the Dots
Connect the Dots is a game from Karen Pryor that starts of with a high rate of reinforcement and lots and lots of “first steps” of walking. The human half of the team needs to have clear, consistent, mechanical skills. Again, practice those without the dog until you have them down pat!
The cones are targets for the human. As you approach a cone, click while you are in motion and stop to treat – right at the spot where you want the dog’s head to be. Be sure to step off quickly – just before your dog finishes eating his treat. Give your “Let’s Go!” cue to let him know it’s action time again!
Step 11: Connect the Dots with a High Rate of Reinforcement
Step 12: Connect the Dots – Start to Decrease the Rate of Reinforcement
Once you are successful with a row of targets (dots), remove 2 or 3 to create bigger spaces. This will cause a drop in the dog’s rate of reinforcement. He should be ready for this now!
Due to our desire to finish videoing Jack, we went a bit too far with him in this session. You can see his attention start to wander, his nose drop to the ground, he looks around.
Continue making bigger spaces adding your removed cones to the end of the line. Work in short sessions leaving the dog wanting more.
Step 13: Ready for Real Walking
When you are ready to go “cone-less”, check to see that your dog can eat and walk at the same time. Keep up a nice rate of reinforcement when doing training walks and start to lessen the rate by going for more and more steps before you click then treat. Remember to keep your mechanical skills in place – leash in the right hand held at your navel, treats in your left hand delivered to the right spot.
Lily, the Poodle Puppy
Jack, the German Shepherd Dog
Trainer: Lynn Martin, KPA CTP
Producer and Director: Helix Fairweather, KPA CTP
Special Thanks To: Sue Ailsby, Shirley Chong, Karen Pryor
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