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Help - Switching sides in figure 8

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My girl, who has her CDX, has just started changing sides in the figure of 8 (handler inside and dog outside) and at some right about turns. In the figure of 8 she is now starting to lag at the midway point, goes around the post on the inside of me and comes on my right hand side.  She is also doing this in right about turns.  It has only started since I put her back into Rally (advanced level).  Previously, she has been a forger but I have never done anything about this figuring it would correct itself in time.  I have NOT started teaching her the Rally masters station of changing heeling sides.    if I have her on lead or have food with me she is fine but without these cues she reverts very quickly.  She seems to know the heel position well and has never tried to heel on the RHS before.  Have been doing static work and on lead but the problem seems to be getting worse. 

Has anyone else experienced this?  Any ideas as to cause or a fix?

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I haven’t had this problem, but here are a few suggestions...

Get a vet check in case the combination of moving quickly and curving to the right is aggravating arthritis, hips or elbows. 

Split the figure 8 into elements ... focus on the clockwise circle with the dog on the outside.

Make it fun and rewarding. If I’m not satisfied with some aspect of my dog’s heeling, I like to do lots of short sessions inside the house, rewarding with food “planted” on convenient surfaces. When practicing the clockwise circles, use an excited voice and demeanour to energise your dog. Once your dog is responding to your enthusiasm, increase your speed on the clockwise circles.

Work on your dog’s understanding of the heel position. This may be weak because she’s been forging. I like to do call-to-heel drills, calling my dog to heel from all points of the clock. For these, initially I’m stationary but later I’m moving.

Be very wary of using the leash to position your dog. Doing so often exacerbates lagging problems, because the dog learns that it’s more difficult for you to apply collar-pressure when she’s lagging.

Video your training. You may notice something you’re doing which is making the problems worse.

Edited by DogsAndTheMob
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Agree with what @DogsAndTheMob has said.   Assuming no physical problems, I would work on the clockwise circles... separately .. around a bin or something like that, treating it as a game.  At the early stages I would use accentuated footwork your feet turning towards the right, shoulder movement - left shoulder forward and head turning - head turning to the right      to make it clear to the dog what is expected.   I'd maybe start with a quarter turn, then grow it.    Rather than using food as a   lure, I'd throw a piece of food along the line of the circle ahead of you PROVIDED, that the dog has been in correct heel position.   So mark the position, throw the food (with permission to get it off the floor ...my cue is get it.)

In the meantime, I wouldn't be practising any Figure 8s .. you don't want to give the dog the chance to repeat behaviours you don't want to see again.   

Oh .. and video!

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