The Positions Game
- Start with 2 positions around you that you want to heavily reinforce. I often chose a position in front of me with the dog facing me and the dog sitting or standing in front of me. The 2nd position I often choose is in a heel or loose heel position beside me. Starting in the front position is often easiest. Present your hand target in a way that helps the dog get into your desired position. Then you can spin to face away from your dog and take a step further away to lure them into the heel position. Switch back and forth between those 2 positions.
- Add in another position that easy to get to from the last position. Slowly add in positions that are easy to get to from the previous position. Your choices are pretty much unlimited at this point. Some of my favorite positions are my dog standing in front of my legs or behind my legs, basically across my body & standing in between my legs. You can keep changing up your order of which position you call for next so your dog is guessing.
- Add in some speed moving between the positions. Once your dog has the idea of the game, you can start adding in speed by doing multiple hand targets between rewards. Start only using food every other position, then every 3rd position. As you develop a love for the game, playing often becomes self rewarding and you can phase out the treats all together. Azul and often play with a tug toy instead of a food reinforcement and that has really helped us build up speed and additional positions.
- If you love the game as much as I do, and reach an advanced level, you can build in some distance calling your dog into various positions starting further away from you. This will really increase your dog's focus when they can move closer and further away from while playing the Positions Game. You can develop a hand target into the game as part of your recall training. It's also a great way to practice down/stays at a further distance as you can release your dog into running to you to play the game.
This video shows Azul playing the game at 6 months old with a young child bouncing around us as a distraction. This is one of the first distractions we played this game around. The child in the video is purposely trying to distract Azul to help with my training.
Additional videos playing the Positions Game at various ages:
18 months: https://youtu.be/ml0dn-lf3KIFirst Session with Puppy: https://youtu.be/cZAVMkZfOSE
Orientation Game/Proximity Game
- Throw a piece of your dog's dinner out, about one meter away.
- After they finish eating it, of course, they are going to look back at you for more. At that moment of they orienting back to you, mark the movement with a "YES" or a CLICK (if you use a clicker). If they do not look back at you right away, just wait them out and mark the moment they do look back. You may have to start playing this game on lead first.
- Follow the marker with the reward of throwing another piece of food out to continue the game.
Here is a link to the Absolute Dogs sheet about playing the Orientation Game.
Wrap Up of Day 1
We hope you enjoyed the games and information presented today! If you have questions, you can post them in our FAD Workshop FB Group here. We would love to see your videos playing the games and hear your feedback from Day 1 of the FAD Workshop!
Owner of Yooper Paws of Love
Professional, Force Free, Dog Trainer
& Animal Behavior Consultant, ILLIS
Visit my website at: www.yooperpaws.com
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