Purpose: This video details how to use a training loop to introduce a dog to a foot target. This is Ron Burgundy’s very first time being introduced to the Flexiness Sensi Mat… So this is a brand new piece of equipment for him. That being said, he is quite experienced at foot targeting in general. So if your pup is learning for the first time, using this exact same method but with a larger and slightly raised target will likely give you both better results initially.
Equipment: Standing Platform, 2 Thin Textured Foot Targets
Targets: Using a foot target helps ensure the pup’s feet are moving into proper alignment. In this video, the chosen posture is a stand, but this method can also be used in other exercises like a Fold Back Down, or Sit. Maintaining proper alignment helps to train the stabilizers in the forelimbs, spine, core and rear end so the joints in the body are held in neutral alignment and can more easily absorb forces.
Just like humans benefit from sitting, standing, and walking with proper posture and form, our dogs do as well!! And the same way our neck and shoulders, back and hamstrings get tight from living and moving with poor posture, our pups can fall into the same compensatory patterns. Once developed both the “loopy training” and foot targeting behavior can be easily transferred into other conditioning scenarios.
- When introducing this method, it’s important to start with a simple set up, and build understanding. This is covered in my Training Loop in Canine Conditioning blog post
- A dog newer to shaping, or with a history of arousal may need several brain breaks within the session, or have the session split over a few days.
- Rewarding frequently and EARLY is critical. For more on this reasoning behind that, check out this blog Clicker Training for Duration written by Hannah Branigan