Last week and this week we have trained a new trick; the side legs up trick. Meaning the dog will put up both the front and hind leg on the same side. And since it's been requested, and I haven't seen any other tutorials teaching this trick the way I did, why not make a tutorial?
I used both shaping and luring when I taught Brownie this trick (shaping for right paws, luring for the left ones), and it's up to you on which method you want to use. The outcome should be the same.
This trick is, in my opinion, a pretty simple one once the dog know what to do. The thing that will take most time is for the dog to build up muscles to get balance without support.
Since I have a small dog, I used books when I taught him this trick/exercise. If you have a larger dog, you could use low plastic boxes, boards, or whatever you come up with. Important is that you can adjust the height. I will use the word books in my example, but you get what I mean ;)
In the beginning, use only one or two books. This i where you learn the dog the principle of having two legs on, two off. You could use shaping, and simply wait for the dog to target the books. Or you could lure him with your hand. Reward first when he touches with only one of the legs, and lots of rewards when he hit the book with both. If this doesn't work, you could have the dog to jump up on the books and slowly lure the other legs down until he is in the right position. Repeat until the dogs is sure what he is supposed to do to get the click and treat.
When you dog knows what to do, simply add more books. One or two at the time.
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After a while, you can try to make the dog put his legs up on a wall. If he doesn't get the idea right away, go back to the last step and practise more with the books. And if the dog tries to hit the wall, reward a lot even if he isn't very stable - like I said, the balance is what will take most time.
The next step is to work away the supports, to make the dog able to do the exercise by himself without any help. This is where I began using a verbal cue and hand signal. My verbal cue is "sidd", but of course you can use whatever word you want. My hand signal is to draw a half circle, right hand for left paws and right hand for left paws (Do only learn one side at the time, to not confuse the dog!). When he got the commands, start trying on smaller object, so that the dog will get a little support, but have to carry the weight himself. I used, for example, a stool and a weaving pole. Everytime the dog put both legs up without any support, jackpot rewarding! The final step is, walk a few step away from the pole/whatever you use and give the cue. The dog has the possibility to use the support if he need to, put will probably feel that he doesn't. Lots and lots of rewards when the dog makes it.
When the dog can do it without any help, it's time to work on duration. And my advice is to practise maybe a few minutes a day, not more than that, and the dog will successively be able to hold the position longer.
I hope this was helpful, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section (kommentera) below. And let me now if you want a tutorial on any other trick.
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