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I wonder if anyone here has experienced (and therefore, has some advice) in training a dog to sit, stand, and lie down with static front paws. I attach here a sample video of another dog doing those actions. I understand that some people suggest using different commands; so the dog knows that these are different actions to the regular sit, stand, down. And I've started doing that as well. But the problem is my dog almost always moves her front paws out of excitement for the incoming treats (or just out of excitement for the work in general; so not because she hasn't learnt to find her balance). Even when she doesn't move her paws out of location, she still sometimes does a few steps in the same location, if that makes sense. I wonder whether you have some tricks that I can use to let her know that for the purpose of these commands her front paws cannot move at all.

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I would think the dog in the video has originally been trained using platforms - slightly raised blocks, bricks, paw pods, or foam blocks to isolate the feet you want to remain static.  The dogs learn to keep their feet still, as otherwise they won't get rewarded.    The dog gets feedback through proprioception (its own sense of where its feet are).    Most trainers will train the behaviours by shaping or luring, and not put verbal cues on the behaviour  until the dog has learnt the appropriate moves its body has to make.  (The learning comes through marking the desired behaviour, rewarding and releasing, and then repeating..

 

So for example, to teach the tuck sit/ kickback stand that's in the video, I use a house brick for my border collies.  They first learn that they will be rewarded for placing, and then for keeping, their front  feet on the brick.  From there they learn to sit by bringing their back feet forward to meet their back fest, and then with value for keeping their front feet on the brick, they will kick their feet back out into a stand, without moving the front feet.

 

Hope that makes sense. 

 

You can help the dog get a nice steady stacked stand using two raised foam pads, just a bit longer than the width of the dog, and not much  wider than the dog's foot length.   One for front feet and one for back feet  .. placed far enough apart that the dog is standing square with a nice level top line.   Build up lots of value for the dog staying in that position (releasing with permission to move)  before fading the platforms.

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Thanks @Tassie

Okay, I guess I need to think about some kind of platforms first.

 

I tried using a cardboard box to stop her from moving forward (see video). But really, it doesn't add to her knowledge that her front paws cannot move; it only negates the possibility of her moving forward if she does the actions at the edge of the box. When she starts from the middle, she still moves her paws all over the place :scold:

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That was a good idea.   She's very neat ... but she's also very fast, and I think that's limiting her ability to really process what she[s doing, and thus translate it to doing without the props.     When we are doing any of these moves for fitness and conditioning, or starting them for obedience and rally and tricks, we try to have the dog moving slowly and thoughtfully at first, and then when they have more clarity of understanding of just what it is we want, then we can speed up.   

I would definitely  be making some platforms.  If you'  ve got something like an aerobics bench, you could try that, but it probably wouldn't be wide enough for her, and you'd have to make sure you made it non slip.  It's easiest to teach the dog to be thoughtful about how she moves her feet.  It is the same principle, although if you're working with her front feet on an edge, this means that if she's careless, she can move her feet, but they're going to come off the edge, and then she won't be rewarded .. so she'll become more careful about placement.   But she needs time to be thinking.... so slow first, then it's fairer to add speed and expect her to remember.  She's working from muscle memory in her body then.

 

She really looks as though she's fun to train.  

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@Tassie Okay. Good to know. I'm probably rushing her. Will try to go back to paw targeting and doing it slow first. I'll try getting some rubber pads.

 

Yeah, she's great. Just got her as a rescue under 6 months ago. She's transformed from a reactive dog who didn't even know her name into an extremely calm and obedient dog who just got her trick dog champion title. So we're trying out obedience and rally soon.

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You and she are going to have lots more fun together.   She has certainly fallen on her 4 lucky feet.

 

Yes ... going more slowly will give you time to have her think a bit more and feel a bit more what she;s doind, so then you can eventually fade the platforms ... though most trainers who use platforms will ping pong back and forth when it seems needed, just to remind the dog.    

 

I have a quick to learn young BC, who likes to live life in the fast lane, so we have to work hard on slow, calm and accurate (definitely a work in progress.  The quick ones are great in a lot of ways, but I find they end up pushing the handler into rushing a bit too.   Clever dogs :laugh:

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