Back Transport - Forging - a Solution
Back transport is a challenging exercise for the dog. Simultaneously, he has to stay in the Basic Position while being focused on the Helper.
Although it is not worth many points (only 5), it does add a certain flair when the dog performs it well. To us - it is very well worth the time it takes to train… which might be awhile.
First and foremost, Back Transport is not a heeling exercise. Not even close. Very frequently, we see dogs either trying to heel, or glance at the Handler, or forge half the length of the body.
Slight physical contact between the Handler and the dog makes it more straightforward for the dog to know where the Basic Position is. Please ensure that the contact is very slight and the dog is not crowding you.
It is great if you have an assistant, but you can also work without. Place a ball on the ground or have the Assistant hold it. It does not make a difference if the dog is sitting or lying down.
The instance the dog looks at the ball - mark and release. This is a step that we frequently miss. The dog needs to know where from the reinforcer is coming and why. Continue until the dog is clear.
The instructions we are giving you must not be completed in one session.
By now, the dog is comfortable standing or sitting next to you while looking straight ahead. The next step is for you to use your leash to guide your dog towards your leg. At the same time, lean into him. Once there is contact between your leg and the shoulder, immediately mark and reinforce by sending the dog to the ball. Continue repetitions until the dog is clear how to get the ball. If the dog starts looking at you - you can use your left hand to guide his head back towards the ball. Once he looks, mark, and send him to the ball.
At some point, you should check if the dog anticipates the contact, you would use your leash gently and wait until he tries to lean into you. If that does not happen - meet him halfway. Eventually, he will lean into you by himself. This can take a few sessions - please be patient.
Once he understands that the goal is to create contact with the leg, you can assign a command. You would say the command followed by the contact. We use “ran,” which means “side.”
Once it works stationary, you will begin walking one step at a time. You would say the command, get the contact, and then take a step. If the dog is out of position - guide him with your leash. Once he is correct - mark and send him to the ball.
Slowly build duration of walking. Once you can walk 10 steps or so, you can incorporate a left turn.
Only after this works with a ball should you move to a bite pillow and, eventually, the Helper.
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