Tricks In Front Of You Or On Your Side?

Discussion in 'Obedience Training' started by Pawbla, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. Pawbla Experienced Member

    I have a silly question. Do you have any special markers or do you teach a whole different command for when you want a trick performed in front of you, or on your side? I mean, like in a heel position (on your side) or facing you (in front of you).
    I've always taught my dog to do his tricks in front of me, since before I knew anything about training, because I like having eye contact with my dog when performing tricks. So now even if he is on my left side, he will position himself in front of me, and then do the trick.
    So far I haven't required my dog to do any trick on my side, but now that I want him to learn some serious heelwork, I'm wondering about the "correct" (official, orthodox? :p ) way to have him do tricks like down and sit on my left side.
    MaryK likes this.

  2. brody_smom Experienced Member

    That's a good question. I have been trying to teach Brody "get in" like Jean Cote does with Onyx, to have her come to sit tight to his left side. Some people just call this "heel" I think, but in my mind it is a different command as I just want him to sit there and wait for whatever I ask next. "Heel" to me means walking in that position.
  3. Evie Experienced Member

    I posted a thread about this one once but never quite got around to teaching it.... there was a few other smaller things we needed to teach first to be able to do it successfully .... that and Evie had to learn to train around her kittens.. which I think we can finally do again. Here's the thread if you're interested

    And Pawbla, great question.... but hate to say it but I have no idea what the answer is :(
    MaryK, Pawbla and brodys_mom like this.
  4. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I just went and read that whole thread and bumped it, so maybe we'll get some more ideas if you're thinking of teaching it again.

    I know there are many folks here who have taught their dogs different cues for left and right, hopefully they will chime in with some help. Sometimes I don't think Brody is smart enough to discern the difference. He definitely has preferences for certain directions. He will only "roll over" from right to left, and "spin" counter-clockwise. Luring him the other way is surprisingly difficult.
    MaryK likes this.
  5. Pawbla Experienced Member

    But you wanted to teach it like, when the dog walks backwards into the position? I read the thread by the way, nice info.

    Yep, "get in" and "heel" are totally different commands :). Like you say, heel is walking next to you, parallel to your body, with his shoulders aligned with your hip, and get in is to position himself in the heeling position (but not moving).

    All dogs have preferences regarding directions. Dogs are also right or left "handed" and some are more or less "ambidextrous", just like people. For example my left hand is completely useless, but my sister is left handed but she can also use her right hand just fine. And it's the same regarding dogs: some dogs spin both directions easily, and some don't. My dog spins clockwise and plays dead on his left side, but I half-taught him (because I got distracted with other stuff) to spin counter-clockwise. It just takes a bit more work than with the "easy" spin.

    I know how to reteach him sit, but the question is... should I? Should I reteach sit for a sit in any position? Or should I have a different command? Because if I have to reteach sit, then I have to have a command for him placing himself in front of me (kinda like "get in").

    Thanks for all the answers!
    MaryK likes this.
  6. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I wonder if, instead of re-teaching sit, you just teach him a different cue for positioning, then use the same cue for sit once he is there. Maybe target your hand?

    I just noticed, as I was working on the "get in" next to the wall today, if Brody did what I asked, but sat too early, as in, too far back, I made a little gesture with my hand for him to move forward and then gave the hand signal for sit. He seemed to know what I wanted without being taught this, and he did it 2 or 3 times.
    MaryK, Ripleygirl and Evie like this.
  7. Pawbla Experienced Member

    But it's the same case as above. I'd have to reteach sit because he repositions himself in front of me once I tell him to sit.
    MaryK likes this.
  8. Mutt Experienced Member

    It depends.
    For heelwork I would give each position a different trick as in competition it would be important to heel at the correct position and you want the dog to be close and handcues should not be necassary to use handcues (which isn't allowed in competitions if I'm right). Roll over left/right, turn around clockwise/counter clockwise also have other cues (as I would want the dog to perform this without handcues, if I don't use different cues they dob't know which way to go).
    Sit/lie down/sit pretty etc. Have one cue for every position (behind me/next to me/in front of me/on top of something). As I also see it as proofing that the dog can perform the trick at a different 'angle'. The cue means a certain behavior my position should be irrelevant).
    MaryK and brodys_mom like this.
  9. 648117 Honored Member

    With Holly:

    "Close" = come and sit next on my left side parallel with my leg.
    "Front" = come and sit right in front of me (between my feet actually - that's how close she is).
    "Heel" = walk with me, on my left side, really close and stay there even if I turn.
    "Finish" = move from "front" position, walk to my right, around behind me and into "close" position.

    I usually get her in "close" position before heeling (unless she is moving from "front" straight into a heel without sitting etc).
    She automatically sits ("close" position) when I stop heeling unless I tell her to do something else (eg, move directly from "heel" to "front" with no sitting in between)

    "Sit" = sit (where ever she is)

    So I use sit if I don't really mind where she is (eg, in front of me but not in "front" position) and for distance position changes and if she is in "heel position" but I have asked her to "down" or "stand" and now want her to "sit" again (I could use "close" bit I usually just ise "Sit").

    I hope that's understandable, it's kind of hard to explain in writing.
  10. 648117 Honored Member

    Oh and:

    "Roll-over" = to her left
    "Dodge-roll" = to her right (my sister named it)
    "Spin" = anticlockwise
    "Twirl" = clockwise
    MaryK and brodys_mom like this.
  11. Pawbla Experienced Member

    Thanks for the answers, that's what I was wondering!
    MaryK likes this.
  12. Pawbla Experienced Member

    Apparently my dog can perform tricks in a different position. I just didn't know. I must have been cuing him (without knowing it) to do them in front of me.
    MaryK, Ripleygirl and Mutt like this.
  13. freedomdreams Well-Known Member

    I didn't read all of the thread but what I actually think is- like you I generally will start off with a cue in front of me, so that I can have their full attention, But I think it's also us to incorperate hand signals or some sort of physical cue- as well as conditioning them to do them everywhere around us. That way, if we want them to sit for example on the right hand side of us, we do the cue on that side and therefore, the dog should know automatically that is where he should be and that is what you want. I don't think it's necessary for change of cue as long as it is conditioned properly. The only tricks that should have a different cue for example is shaking a paw, but a majority can be done with a simple physical cue- which once conditioned is very easy for a dog to understand and quickly switch over to what you want.. so less confusion.
    MaryK likes this.
  14. Gordykins Experienced Member

    I teach heel as a position rather than an action so that I can get my two to do whatever in heel. Heel just means that they have to be aligned with my left side, and looking at me... if I happen to move then Gordy and Breelan know that they need to move too so that they are still at a heel position. Once they are in a heel position, if I ask for sit, stand, down etc... they know to stay in heel when they do it. If I want them to switch to doing something in front of me then I call them front.

    When I want to get them to the heel position, how I do it depends on where they are, and how I want them to get there. If they are standing behind me, then I just call heel, and they come up to meet me in that position. If they are in front of me, and I want them to go to my left and turn around to heel, they I say "swing" and if I want them to walk around behind me and to a heel position then I say "go around." Because we do rally none of those things mean to do anything once they get TO the heel position, because sometimes it's followed with sit, sometimes with walking forward, sometimes stand... so I try to avoid having them assume that heel usually means to do anything in that position... it's just a spot where they wait to see what happens next. From there it was easy to just ask for whatever trick while they knew they were supposed to stay in heel position.

    To be on my right side, I say "Switch" but we don't really do much with that. They only time I really use it is if we are walking, and I want them to be on my right side suddenly because of a danger or distraction coming up on our left side. For that though, they just drop back behind me then catch up on my right side.
    Ripleygirl, brodys_mom and MaryK like this.
  15. MaryK Honored Member

    I use 'close left' or right/front/back when I just want a sit/stand.
  16. MaryK Honored Member

    The way sit right/left is taught at the school I belong to is this:

    Start with your dog in front of you. Then if you want him to sit left take a step back with the left foot (make it quite a stride not short) and AT THE SAME TIME use a lure to bring your dog up to and around to your left side = sorry it's a bit hard to describe - then ask if necessary for the sit. Same thing applies to the right side.

    For sit in front but facing AWAY from you, circle the dog in front of you until it's butt is facing you, then ask for sit.

    For sit at back - same procedure except for my hand signal, and I also use my feet, one foot crossed behind the other, so Leaf knows it's a 'sit behind' and not another trick we are currently working on.

    The sit left/right is usually very easy to get, but the sit front with back facing you and sit behind can take longer to train and isn't always necessary unless you're going to do Canine Freestyle of some other advanced tricks.

    I also use the verbal cue 'close left/right/back/front'.
  17. farwyn Well-Known Member

    Well I've done something nice with my dog . Instead of using words for a command I use body language mostly . I don't really know how that works out but I can communicate with her pretty well for some commands that aren't liked to an obvious move I make such as spin or jump . For example when I want her to sit I simply look in her eyes and she understands no matter the positioning , same goes for bark and down as many other commands . I don't really know that's going on though :p

    Anyways when I want her to perform a certain trick that requires a certain positioting I use my hands as indicators and then the command and the message gets through . I can also play with her psychology regarding a trick using direct eye contact and the message once again gets through but luring would be more appropriate and easy i guess .

    As for teaching her a different command well I'll kinda disagree here mainly because of my use of the command jump . Anything from closing the fridge to jumping over a bar is connected to jump and the way I use the indicators differentiates the essence of the command for example if I point at the fridge and call for a jump she will close the fridge and if I hold a bar or a stick and call for a jump she will jump over it .
    MaryK, brodys_mom and southerngirl like this.
  18. brody_smom Experienced Member

    If you watch any videos on shaping, this is pretty much what happens. It takes a longer time before a cue is introduced, sometimes it isn't even necessary, because the trainers body language is the cue. Like leg weaves, or rebounds, the dog sees you in the position to do the trick and they know what they are supposed to do.
    MaryK likes this.
  19. MaryK Honored Member

    I too use 'eye contact' with Leaf (and Zeus who understands it perfectly). It really does work and is so useful when you want your dog to do something and don't want to make a big show of cues either verbal or hand.

    Not really seen it suggested in a lot of dog training books etc. but I do find my body language, along with eye contact, does achieve a lot when training. With Leaf though, sometimes a lure, food, is needed as she is VERY food orientated and rather feels that no food is equates to no pay - and she doesn't like working without pay!:rolleyes:

    Wonderful Farwyn that you have that close a relationship with your dog, it really is something special isn't it.:)

Share This Page

Real Time Analytics