Purpose: Training foundation movements in a precise way, while encouraging proper alignment, and slow movement can seem daunting! So I decided to film my very first session of Fold Back Down-Stand to show you the process.
Equipment: Standing Platform
Targets: Training proper mechanics early not only helps to improve your pup’s body awareness (proprioception), but also starts to create muscle memory (to increase the likelihood of using proper mechanics in the future), and allows for balanced muscle development from the start.
Watchpoints: These tips and tricks will also work with adult dogs that haven’t yet learned a square down-stand! It’s never too late to start improving your pup’s alignment!!!
1. Use a platform just wider than the pup’s foundation/base (this platform is 9″ wide) to provide feedback to the pup, and help them keep their limbs organized. Using a platform also helps the HANDLER define where “square” actually is, and maintain proper criteria.
2. Define criteria (what earns a cookie)! The criteria I use includes…
- All 4 limbs on the platform
- Hocks parallel
- Deep hip/knee flexion (no rear legs stretching forward)
- Pelvis level (not over on a hip)
- Front limbs parallel and rib cage width
3. Use placement/speed of reward to control the speed/direction of movement. Remember…
- Head up=weight into rear (rear feet more likely to stay still).
- Head down=weight into front (front feet more likely to stay still).
4. Keep sessions short! Moving with proper mechanics is HARD both on the body and on the brain! This video shows the ENTIRE session (all 1:38 of it LOL)! Continuing past this point would just create frustration, and further engrain poor movement strategy. You can always try again later in the day.
5. It would be nice if all four feet stayed still, top line stayed level and speed (especially during the eccentric/down in this situation movement) was slow. But one thing at a time. Notice when you DO meet this criteria and reward GENEROUSLY!
6. Integrating proper mechanics doesn’t have to be complicated… It just takes a little planning.
Necessary Prerequisite Skills:
- Follow a cookie in hand
- Follow a tossed cookie