Video: Pivots – Bad Dog Agility Academy

Video: Pivots

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  • Jennifer Clemons says:
    This is Chapters 3rd or 4th session with pivots. This has been a challenge for us as he seems to be bored and will often leave. He gets the two front feet on the platform but we are struggling with moving back feet. The only way he will kinda of do it is if I stand on his side and move in towards him. Any suggestions on when we are stuck?

    • Sarah Baker says:

      Skeptic really struggled with this one as well. I ended up using a combination of shaping, luring and molding : ) I like to shape but sometimes it can be best to move along to another method to jump start a behavior.

      First, make sure your reward delivery is on the side of his head as that can help him move his back feet again.

      Moving toward your dog can work, but it often needs to be combined with some luring by putting your hands with cookies near your dog’s nose to keep him on the perch. This can help him from moving all the way off the perch in response to the pressure of you moving in close. Remember this when doing handling work too, that BCs can be very sensitive to pressure.

      I also used cookies in my hand above Skeptic’s head to turn his head. If you get it turned enough, the body follows.

      Perch work can require lots of praise for just being on the perch to make sure the dogs know they are correct about that part of the behavior.

      Something that helped Skeptic was to reset him often. So I would wait for rear foot movement, click, reward on the side of his head, clicking and treating again if my reward placement helped get more rear foot movement. If not, I released him off the stool to a tossed treat, then rewarded rear foot movement when he came back to the perch. The momentum from coming back to the perch would cause his back feet to move.

      I would also work body awareness in many forms to assist in him moving his feet to get cookies (feet in and on boxes, on balance disks, stepping over cavalettis, backing up, side steps, etc).

      I also try to always have at least one trick that I am shaping to help keep my dogs in the frame of mind of offering behaviors and working through mistakes.

      If he gets bored easily, try have several stations out and move between them. Perch work, then circling, then crate sends, then backing up, then more perch work, etc.

      Please let me know if that helps and if you have more questions!

  • Marit Vike says:

    Where do you get those round mats??

  • says:

    I know that this exercise has something to do with the dog finding his rear feet but I am a little confused about how this is important in agility (?)

    • Sarah Baker says:

      Everything that has to do with body awareness is important for agility. Pivots teach front and rear feet awareness and are are a core strengthening exercise and a common rehab exercise. I put pivots in the same category as cavalettis, balance disk work, push ups, hiking, swimming, underwater treadmill and tricks. They might not be directly related to an obstacle, but they all build a good, strong foundation for agility. Remember that we are asking our dogs to do difficult things like enter a 12in wide plank at top speed, often from a turn. The stronger our dogs are, and the more they have independent use of all 4 feet, the safer they are. My BC has done the DW down plank with only his two left feet because he got off balance at a trial. His foundation taught him how to shift his weight and use just his left side. I hope that all helps!

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