Finally, A Breakthrough With The Elephant Trick/pivoting!!!


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Sooo, I've always wanted to do lots of backwards tricks but never been able to quite get there. Mud and Zeke can both back up, and Z can also "moonwalk" (As described by Kyra Sundance...we call it "scoot"), but as for backwards weaves, backwards circles, etc, we're not there. I watched Kikopup's pivoting video over and over, and then gave it a go with Mudflap--a year or so ago. We never could quite get it. Sure, Mud stepped right up there just fine, but as for pivoting she wouldn't do it without me beside her stepping towards her.
Well, then I bought Silvia Trkman's heeling video, and I thought OH, just click for any movement of the back feet and gradually shape a full pivot. NOW I'VE GOT IT!
We still couldn't get it. Then I realized that I had clicked too much for small movement, so Mud thought she didn't actually have to move left or right, she just had to pick up her back feet.
So I abandoned it for a while, hoping we could restart it later. But each time, same results., I bought a little folding step stool at the dollar store thinking I could use it for this trick and numerous others. Previously I was using a bucket turned upside down. This little stool is very clearly different, being more boxy and zebra striped.

VOILA!!!! Within minutes she was pivoting a half-circle one way and a quarter circle the other way. At first, she did try just the little rear feet pick ups, resulting in an ADORABLE little back feet dance. When she does this, she doesn't move left or right, she just picks up each foot--left, right, left, right, left, right. I sooooooo wish I could reward for this, it is so cute, but I don't want to ruin her again for pivoting.
ANYWAY, so we do have a great start at the pivoting! I'm so excited to finally get this down. I understood how to do it, but thought I had ruined Mud for good on this. So happy that a simple change of props fixed the issue.


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YAYYYYY! I'm sooo glad you finally got it! Maybe you could go back to the bucket for the back foot dance? she should differentiate easily between the 2 pieces if equipment :)


Honored Member
That's so awesome you got it!!! I'm going to go find that video by Silvia Trkman you're talking about. ;)


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I'm surprised, that even though i was never able to get Buddy to do the elephant trick,
he still pivots with me, perfectly, when i turn,
when doing heelwork,
when i stand in place but change directions, Buddy stays right beside me, in place, moving his back legs to stay in position, to face same direction i am now facing,
to twirl around with me.
I have to get a video camera.

He stays right beside me, looking up at me, and moves his back legs to keep his shoulder to my leg, it's great. This pivoting during heelwork wasn't as hard to teach as i'd been led to believe,
or maybe i just got lucky.:)

but we never did that elephant trick. Buddy "got it" but *i* got too dizzy to stay with it.


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Staff member
Thanks everyone!!
Sara, I might have to try the back feet dance with the bucket. ^^ But I want the pivot worse, so knowing my luck I will probably get the pivot down with Mud, then attempt to go the bucket for the back feet dance and she'll pivot beautifully. LOL. We'll see...
Dlilly, it is expensive, but I do think it's worth it. I've watched it about 3 times now and still will go back and watch it again once we've got the pivot down. I taught Z how to heel a different way, and he heels wonderfully, but I want to try this way with Mud. And with my next dog, Dixie, as she hasn't had any work on this at all so I can start fresh with her. Anyway, I want to eventually buy all of Silvia's DVDs. :) But, they are pricey, so it will be a while. :confused:
Tigerlily, you've probably inadvertently taught him to target your leg--that's basically the idea that Silvia teaches her dogs, which is why they're so "sticky." (And I mean that in the best of ways. :) ) Way to go!!

I want to accomplish the pivoting more for backwards tricks than for heeling, but regardless I just don't like being stumped by a trick that I know I caused the issue with. :X3: If Mud didn't like it or didn't particularly want to do it, I wouldn't push it, but because I know **I** screwed her up on it, I want her to learn it even more. ;)