Clicker Training Correct Movement

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Clicker Training Correct Movement

by Michael Russell

The show dog must gait and not "pace" in the show ring. For the novice handler it is often difficult to recognize the difference. It is highly important, first, that you yourself can recognize the trot, as opposed to the pace.

The TROT is a two-beat gait in which the feet at diagonally opposite ends of the body strike the ground TOGETHER (right front, left rear strike the ground at the same time, left front, right rear strike together, etc.). In the PACE the feet strike the ground together on the same side of the body. Also, they usually move in the same direction in the pace, in other words, both right front and right rear move forwards together and strike the ground at the same time and both left front and left rear the same.

To train your puppy to trot, always use the SAME SIGNAL and click at the appropriate gait (most puppies who are well built will pick up into a trot right away.) Use the word "HUP!" and train the pup by trotting a few feet (perhaps ten feet) clicking as the puppy breaks into the trot and giving the reward after he/she has trotted a few feet. It is best to do the actual show training ON LEAD (with a harness until the puppy is accustomed to a collar and is no longer "fighting" the collar) and as soon as you stop the puppy, using the words "easy....stop", you should walk the puppy into a stack and offer the treat (show ring: bait is allowed), At this point in time don't worry about placement of rear feet but do try to get the front feet nicely positioned and not too close together. This can be done by walking the puppy into the stack before giving the treat. If you are clicking, you should be clicking twice during this exercise, once when the puppy goes into the gait, (but do not offer a treat at this point, only click him, or say good dog and offer praise) and once again as the puppy is standing with front feet correctly placed. At this point, you offer him a treat. You are going to be carrying the clicker in your LEFT hand and the treat in your RIGHT hand and you are going to be watching and BE SURE that you only click or praise when the pup is trotting. It the puppy only paces, rather than trots, here is a tip: Use a broom handle (or any type of long stick) for helping the pup switch into a trot. Simply lay the handle in the path as the puppy begins to move, so that it must go over the handle. The pup will automatically switch into the trot. CLICK this behavior.(or verbally praise).

Speed should be moderate to start with. You will find that it is easier later on to regulate speed to a SLOW trot vs. a FAST trot as you and the puppy become accustomed to each other's movement and also, as the puppy grows, the speed will change. If you start by just walking fast yourself, then usually for most medium to large dogs this will end up being a wonderfully moderate gait for the dog and will allow the judge to truly see the movement. In reality, most judges do NOT like to see the dogs running around the ring at breakneck speed.

ALWAYS start the trot from a stand and practice trotting several feet, then standing and "baiting", trotting several feet and "baiting" again. Practice this at least five or six times before doing a different exercise or stopping the training period.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Dog Training

Michael Russell - EzineArticles Expert Author

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