Lyra - 12 weeks of age

I'm switching from "time she's been here" to "age" for the titles of my blog posts about Lyra.  Makes more sense over the long run.

Lyra's doing great!  Either her food drive is increasing or I'm doing a better job at finding tasty morsels.  Probably both.

Today's video shows a few things; a bit of pivoting (using a frisbee to hold her front feet in place and then on the ground), heeling (for a toy and food), and dumbbell retrieve (for toy and food).  I'm incredibly pleased that she will put down the toy to pick up the dumbbell.

As you can see, she loves her platform.  Normally I would not have random stuff on the floor unless I was using it - this is why.  I should have had a table set up outside with my props.  I could have taken them down as I wanted to use them.

Lyra still wanders off with her toys, but less every day.  Her retrieve is coming back, but not with tug toys at this time.  She'll work through that in the next few weeks.

After she gets the pivot in heel (using the frisbee) I'll teach her a left turn in heeling.    I'm increasing distance and expectation for the dumbbell.  We continue to play A LOT, though I do not show that here.

I'm giving some thought to how to teach sit, down and stand, but haven't done much with it yet.  So far, there hasn't been any luring, and I hate to start now.  The only way I know to teach a fold back down is with a food lure.  I'm open to alternatives, as long as they don't involve props.  Easier to fade a food target then a prop.

Here's a five minute clip of today's session.  Total session was more like 10 minutes, and included a few other bits and pieces.


Carolyn H.

In 2004 my Malinois puppy taught me about the power of eye connection. It was an accident. I looked at her (because I loved looking at her!) then looked at the floor – probably daydreaming. She went down. It took me a while to notice the sequence. When I caught on I deliberately tried it. She went down every time. I can direct her to different places the same way. Just in case it was a fluke, this year I tried teaching my young Mal boy to down this way. He was slower. He watched her; he watched me; he caught on. This is fascinating to me. No modeling. No luring. No force. I tried to talk to a few people about it, but they said “everyone knows that”. After 40 years of dog training I didn’t. Guess I’m a slow learner!

Laura, Lance, and Vito

It’s not too hard to shape a foldback by clicking head drops and getting a little bow first. I did it with one dog just to experiment. For stand I’ve recently been experimenting with a few dogs on using their perch work to teach it since stand is the default behavior there. I just teach them to sit and down on it also once they were good at those behaviors and they quickly offer the stand. All I had to do was name it and then shrink the perch.

It is really fun to play with all the different ways you can teach something :)


It’s not that it’s “wrong” to lure stuff, but I’d like to learn some new ways of doing things. I may just have her target my hand and go down from there. But…one never knows when someone thought up something unique; worth asking!


Susan Garret just posted a great video on her facebook page about teaching a stand with a hand target!

Sara Reusche

I captured downs with both of my current dogs, and both have lovely fold-back downs. I recall doing just a tiny bit of shaping with Dobby in the beginning, clicking weight shifts backwards, but this was only one 2-minute session. All 3 position behaviors were actually trained through capturing with him (he was too fearful to follow a lite if you can believe it!), and he has the cleanest and crispest transitions.

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