Purpose: This video is the progression of the Rear Foot to Hand Target (Part 1): Foundation. You’ll notice I’ve already completely faded my leg from the picture and substituted my hand, and Ron Burgundy has started to generalize the foot to hand target. Honestly, this is the most straightforward method I’ve found to teach this behavior.
Equipment: None, or a Target Stick, large kitchen spoon or long grill type spatula (see NOTE below)
NOTE: If you are teaching this to a grown dog, or dog proportionally larger than you, you may need a temporary arm extension. The above mentioned tools work well in that situation.
Targets: A rear foot target is the foundation of many exercises to come, but is also an effective strengthening exercise on its own. To lift the leg, and maintain balance, the dog must engage the gluteals, lateral hamstring, and hip rotators, as well as adjusting the balance of weight through the front feet and shoulders.
- In the beginning, this exercise has more of a body awareness focus, where later lifting a rear leg can become a proprioceptive and / or load-bearing challenge.
- Introducing the idea of “multiple hits = more rewards”, will make it easier to build duration later, as the pup has a reward history for keeping the leg lifted. For now that leg lift is a rear foot target (foot touching my hand). Later it will become a rear leg lift + hold in the Independent Rear Leg Lift- Tutorial: Intermediate exercise
- When your pup is fluent with the foundation level, removing the handler’s leg as a target, and substituting the hand should be a very easy swap. If this is proving difficult, it’s easy enough to re-extend your leg (or use your angled standing platform) and rebuild understanding of the Foundation Level variation.