Direction Training Question

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by hockey390, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. hockey390 New Member

    Hello all,

    I want to teach Emma how to go in the direction I want her to..

    Here is the scenerio:

    Emma is running around in a field looking for whatever I throw, she is not anywhere near it and I want to give her a hand signal telling her which direction to go. (Left, Right, Forward or Back)

    I think I saw yoyopoodle doing this, but I'm not 100% sure...

    Any idea's on how to train this? I've been just showing the hand signals constantly while she is running around in hopes that she will pick up on it EVENTUALLY, but I could also imagine she doesn't realize I've got my arm out for her sake.

    The perfect result would be this:

    Emma is running in any direction, I blow a whistle and she pauses and looks back at me. I show a hand signal and she continues on in that direction.

    Any tips would be amazing!

  2. stormi Well-Known Member

    One way would be to use toys or gundog dummies. Sit her and put one dummy to the right and one to the left (a piece of carpet on either side would work too, especially if there is a piece of food on the 'correct' one), then stand in front of her. By getting her to pick up the dummy/go to the carpet on either side you can build in directional commands. Once she has them use a similar principle to teach her 'get back', or throw the toy over her head to get her to 'get back'.

    If that doesnt work you could teach her a more formal sendaway and redirection to give her a basic understanding of left and right and then adapt it to finding toys in the direction she has been sent in?

    The other way would to be to mark the behaviour when she is doing it naturally?

    Hope you have fun!

    Good Luck
  3. Jean Cote Administrator

    I believe verbal cues will work better since the dog needs his sight to find the object.


    With my border collie, I often throw the ball too far and she looses it. Then she runs in circle trying to find it. I have two cues that I use, "Wohoo!" in a cheerful tone of voice when she is looking in the direction of the ball and "Aiiieee!" in a slightly negative tone of voice when she is walking in the wrong direction.
  4. stormi Well-Known Member

    Or they will use their nose and try to scent where the article is?
  5. yoyopoodle Well-Known Member

    I like to do what Stormi suggested with the carpets, but I use four.

    Some people call it 'baseball' - you stand at 'home plate', and direct your dog between the 3 bases and the pitcher's mound.

    When I first started teaching Charlie, I taught him to lie on the mats. Then I would place him on one and stand about 5' from the next as I directed him to it - I was right there, so there was no question which mat to go to. He already had the idea of a go out before I started withe the mats, but for a beginner you might try having 2nd base just a few feet behind the pitcher's mound, and taking a step into/towards your dog as you give the command.
    It doesn't take long before you can increase distance :)

    BTW, for Charlie I like to use a single whistle blast to mean face me and lie down (helpful to stop him if he heads in the wrong direction), and he hasn't finished the directional cue until he is lying down on a mat. I use a triple blast (long-short-short) as a recall. I'm thinking of using a trill to mean keep going, but haven't implemented it yet.
  6. Jean Cote Administrator

    Good advice yoyopoodle,

    I'm thinking that you could train your hand signals by using cones and nose taps, or objects on the ground.


    So you could start with one cone or object and pointint to it before she goes and get it, then add a second one and alternate between the two while using both of your arm signals (left and right). Then back up to gain distance and use your left and right signal (this will of course require a sit & wait). :)
  7. hockey390 New Member

    Very good ideas everyone, thank you. But what I am not getting (I must be thinking too hard or something) is how do you get the dog to GO to the mat of your choice? Say "left" or signal left and then throw a treat on the mat or something? If I just held up my left arm, I highly doubt my dog would even think to go to the mat on the left.. Either a little more description here, or a slap upside the head would be nice please =)

    And Stormi, in the situation with bird dog dummies, I will be using those.. I am training her to be a bird dog =)
  8. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I've actually been doing what you initially thought of hockey. That is, when I throw a ball, Ellie gets excited and she runs forward. However, she's usually run further out than the distance that I've thrown the ball. She then stops and looks back at me, wondering where the ball has gone.

    So I've been doing what you initially described and have been pointing to the ball, left, right, or front, to show her where it landed. She will follow my hand signals each and every time now. When she gets to the ball, I make a weird sound, and boy is it weird. I stand there calling "bububububu" quickly and repeatedly, and give lots and lots of praise to mark that we achieved something as a team. (I can't help thinking I get more out of it than she does. :))

    This isn't a behaviour that I've consciously gone out of my way to train but I just got tired of having to retrieve my own ball each time. :) What I haven't yet done is marry the hand signals to a verbal or whistle cue.

    My point is that I see no reason why you won't achieve most of what you want by continuing to do what you're already doing. How frequently are you doing it? We do this two or three times a day, in a very large field.
  9. yoyopoodle Well-Known Member

    Good point. I had already taught Charlie separately to 'go to bed', meaning lie down on a mat, so he just needed me to point out which mat he should go to.

    I'm trying to remember how I originally taught that...
    I think I started out crouching and patting the mat and and telling him to go to bed/down (say new command first), then still crouching pointing to the mat and only giving the new command, then standing as I pointed to the mat, then increasing distance. I probably stretched it over a few days, couple sessions a day.

    I just taught Harmony last week to go to bed and by the end of the first day she would go to the bed and lie down on a single command/point when I was standing about 4' away (she is 17 weeks old).

    You certainly don't need to teach go to bed to get the result you're looking for, but it's so easy for them to pick up and directionals tend to go a lot smoother.

    Another method, very similar to what you are doing, is how I originally started a go out with Charlie. My hand signal is my palm 'pushing' in the direction I want him to go (forward). When playing fetch, like Ellie, Charlie would run without watching the ball... he was just a lot slower so I could still get the ball to land in front of him ;) I would pretend to throw his ball, and tell him to 'go', and as soon as he started running I would really throw it - at first he didn't realize there was a difference. I then started using my hand signal instead of pretending to throw the ball, and it was similar enough that Charlie was never confused. After that I would start Charlie in different places (away from me) and give the command from there.

    This method took us a long time (a year?) and he never built a distance over maybe 35'. Once I switched to using the mats I can use any distance as long as the mat is visible (agility pause tables or other raised surfaces are much better), AND he has an object to get to, so he is faster and with a purpose... before he was running but kind of wandering around in the general direction.
    As his confidence increases with the directions/distance, I will start using the whistle to stop him before he get's to the mats, so that while he'll have a focus point it won't always be the destination... I'm hoping he'll start to generalize and no longer need the mats (disaster SAR dogs do this all the time, so I know it's possible).
  10. hockey390 New Member

    Emma knows "in your bed" command.. So I can go from there..

    I think I've got some ideas built up in my head that will work. I'm going to get some mats that are easily visible and start with just associating her to go to them with clicker, and then go to them on point only, and then place one on each side and have her in the middle and point one way or the other.. Then increase the distance.. I'll let you all know how it works out, and let me know if you think of anything I can modify/add to make it better. I will be doing this sometime starting late next week (next week are final exams) so I won't have time to work with her. =(
  11. stormi Well-Known Member

    If using mats you can teach a formal sendaway and redirect maybe to get her used to directions. Once she has got a sendaway to the mat you can stand in different places and send her out to the mat, introducing the directional command at that point.

    I did the thing with the dummies once with Storm on a gundog taster day. To be honest I dont remember her having a problem with knowing which dummy to get. I think me pointing and looking at the dummy I wanted her to get was enough. I guess you could teach just one direction at a time though, or keep her on a long line so she cant go wrong (depends how strong her retrieve drive is though as you dont want to knock her attitude by stopping her from getting a dummy)? If using mats you could just put food on the 'correct' mat and let her work out for herself that the direction you point in corresponds with the mat that has the food on (or a toy on or under)?

    Have fun and good luck with your finals.
  12. storm22 Experienced Member

    what you can do, ive taught this with storm, its great for agility, is have a jump (or two poles) or whatever you want, something big enough for the dog to realise it, and teach your dog to follow your hand around to the left jumping over the jump towards the left side, gradually backing off so your dog walks up to it and goes round the pole towards the left, when hes going up to it and going round you can put in the LEFT signal along with a hand signal (storm worked more in the direction my body was facing), practice, practice, practice, and you can stand about 3metres away and have him go over and around to the left, then go back to the basics and teach him going right, sooner or later (depending how fast your dog learns) you can take the jump away and say your left or right command along with your body (or hand) signal and he'll do it when he's running in the feild or where ever you ask him too if they cant hear you they'll see what direction your body is facing and run that way, storm is constantly watching witch direction im facing so it might be abit harder than i explained

    but its definalty worth training

Share This Page

Real Time Analytics