The fold-back down

Joy

Location
East Sussex
I'm going to try to train this - having tried and failed in the past. I want to train it because as we move up the levels in Rally we are losing marks because Molly lies down by sitting first. (So it's not important in the grand scheme of things but something I would like to achieve.)
In past attempts I've tried luring by moving a treat diagonally downwards between her front paws but she has always just stepped backwards and put her head down without any lowering of the front half and then if I haven't released the treat she has then lay down in her usual way or offered other behaviours or just wandered off! (Or occasionally I've been so sorry for her puzzled look that I've given her the treat anyway :giggl: )
So my plan is to put a dining room chair between us and hold a treat under it so that she needs to lie down to reach it. If I can get her to do it just once and click and treat I think we'll have it. She is very clued in to the clicker and gets excited when I produce it - it's just getting that first one.

If anyone has trained this with a dog who didn't find it easy I'd be glad of any other suggestions.
 

snowbunny

Administrator
I love the way Hannah Brannigan trains it. Her course Devil in the Details is awesome and a complete geek-fest! :rock:

She starts with getting the dogs’ feet really planted without any paddling on platforms, and then working on the weight shifts from there.
The dog needs a strong core to FBD maintaining a nice flat back.
 

Joy

Location
East Sussex
Well I tried using the chair and it was immediately successful. I wish I had videoed that, but didn't! We then moved on to without the chair but with a lure and I did video this. This was the first set of attempts after the chair and I think I'm quite pleased. When I went through frame by frame she was widening her back legs (which is what I have read they need to do) and pretty much collapsing backwards. The last one was the best. She's had enough for now but I think tomorrow I might use a front foot target as well.

 

Joy

Location
East Sussex
I didn't practise it yesterday because I met my dog training friend and we had a session in a hired field doing Fenzi TEAM stuff plus a bit of rally.
So this evening Molly seemed to have forgotten it completely and was back to going down by sitting first. I went back to getting the chair out again and once she'd done a few of those it was as though something clicked in her brain and she was back to the level she was at in the video above. I did do just three at the end without food in my hand but still using the luring gesture (no video).
I suppose she has such a long history of being rewarded for getting into a down in any way and staying there that it's hard for her to understand that how she moves into a down matters. I think I need to click as she moves rather than once she's down - so need to improve my timing. I'm not convinced I can successfully train this but I thought I'd keep a record of my attempts here in order to keep me at it.
 

snowbunny

Administrator
I think I need to click as she moves rather than once she's down
Yes, it's the mechanics you're reinforcing, not the end position. The position is just a result of the "how", and it's the "how" that's important here. When you eventually put it on its final cue, it should be a different word/visual to the one you currently use for what she's done historically, but I'm sure you already know that.
 

snowbunny

Administrator
I just watched your video - this isn't really a FBD, even though she's not sitting first. In a FBD, the feet stay in the same position and the body folds. The front feet may slide forwards slightly, but they maintain contact with the ground, other than the back feet slightly widening to allow the hips to come in. If you watch Molly's feet, they all move forwards.

There's a great video in this article of a FBD - watch how the dog's feet are really planted. It's a thing of beauty :D

 

Joy

Location
East Sussex
@snowbunny Thanks for the video - I had actually seen already it and yes it's a fabulous fold-back down.

I thought I had already posted this second video (from Sunday). In this one Molly does keep her front feet pretty much planted. I think if I can get this on cue and in heel position I'll be very happy!

 
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