Service Dog Positioning Skills
Along with the under position, we work on Azul paying attention to the leash and backing out of position so he doesn't get tangled or trip me. Since I mostly use a handsfree leash when Azul is working as a Service Dog, it's super important to me that he knows how to prevent leash tangles. This is easiest for us when Azul walks forward into position and backs out of position. He can be facing me or facing my back. We also practice holding this position while sitting, standing, and laying down. The body cue is simply spreading my feet apart for a wider stance. At first I made deliberate movements with sound, but now a subtle move is all it takes. We also practice walking forwards and backwards in this positions.
Another common position is a Tuck Under my legs while I'm sitting down. This is most useful in waiting rooms, restaurants, and locations where we expect to be sitting on a chair or bench for a period of time. I taught this to Azul at a pretty young age by using a food lure to get him into position several times, then also reinforcing it whenever he offered the position. This position can vary to fit the seat your sitting position. If I'm sitting in an open chair, Azul can back into position with his hind end under the chair and his head and front legs between my feet. He can also go under 2 chairs long ways if we are going out to eat with family so he's completely under chairs instead of taking up feet space at a crowded table. Or we also use this position under a table in a booth so that other people are not accidently kicking or stepping on Azul.