White terrier mix dog standing in a green field with a red collar on

Distraction in Down, Movement and Mechanics

Our fourth set will be in a down with a food distraction, but once again we are going to put greater emphasis on the position of our body and hands. Guide your dog to the mat and reinforce him for placing squarely. Now lure your dog into a down. You can bend your legs and back but don’t kneel all the way to the ground as we had been doing in week one of training. Mark and reinforce him with 2 or 3 pieces of food once his belly touches the ground. Giving 2 or 3 pieces of food will help your dog get settled in a down before we raise the criteria.

Move your hands to your stomach and straighten your back. Issue a verbal marker “good” and then bend down to deliver food. Return to your resting position and drop a piece of food to your right. Return to your resting position, say “good” and then bend over to deliver reinforcement. Repeat this pattern once more to your right.

Now let’s switch the leash to our right hand and generalize this same pattern to our left side. Drop the food to your left, and then move your hands back to your stomach and straighten your back. Mark “good” and bend to deliver reinforcement. Pick up the food. Return to an upright position with your hands at your stomach. Mark “good” and bend over to reinforce your dog. Repeat this one more time on your left side, deliver your final reward, and then immediately issue a release cue and prompt your dog to pop off the mat. Offer a single reward to your dog after he’s taken 1 – 2 steps off the mat, followed by a one minute break.

NOTE: When you deliver the food, make sure you are delivering the food in a manner that allows your dog to comfortably remain in a down. Be sure that your dog does not have to stretch upward to receive it or that you are unintentionally cutting into your dog’s space and causing them to coil backwards.

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