RZ Moving: Text Instruction
Goal: This game helps your dog learn to follow you in agility. We are growing your Lesson 1 Reinforcement Zone training in Lesson 2 with the layer of adding motion. When all the layers of RZ training is complete it is a great motivational game to help with focus in agility.
Equipment: Long leash that you can wrap around your waist and have 3-4 feet left to hand across your shoulders and neck. ( allows your hands to be free (3-4ft - 1-1.2m) Choose a small leash that allows you to handle and deliver treats. A round can / barrel as a guide to walk around.
Suggested Training Area Size: 12' x 12' (4m x 4m)
Step 1: Organize your leash on your body as described in the video so your hands are leash free. Position your dog on the outside of your body as you walk around a barrel and begin to walk one step at a time slowly. Your treats will be in the hand closest to the barrel and will deliver to the hand closest to the dog. Remember your RZ mechanics of touching your hip before delivering the cookie. Continue to reinforce your dog for the decision to follow in RZ position with every step around the barrel. We want to diminish any unwanted behaviours at this stage such as; cutting you off, nipping at your pants or jumping up to snatch the treat. Every treat should be delivered for your dog staying in position of RZ. This is “outside circle” training. Remember to train on both sides of your body.
Step 2: The next layer will be training your “inside” circle around the barrel. Same physical mechanics of food delivery and being aware of the RZ behaviour your getting at a walking pace. You want to diminish any unwanted behaviours as above.
Step 3: If you are happy with your RZ behaviour and your food delivery mechanics you can start to add more motion such as a “jog” around the barrel. Your dog will work harder to stay in position. You will then be selective on rewarding the “good choices” your dog makes to stay in position while you add more motion. Release and celebrate! Your moving forward in your handling training toward later lessons on…shadow handling!
If your dog moves “ahead of you” the mechanics to get him back into RZ is to slide your hand down the leash to the metal clip of your leash. Ensure you actually take the clip in your hand. Plant your inside foot and take a GIANT step BACK with your outside leg. Have a reward ready for the next step and reinforce the dogs choice to stay in RZ when you take your next step. Repeat if need be. If you are utilizing this often you may need to revisit building value for stationary RZ on one or both sides of your body.
If your dog lags behind you, on your next session make sure you play and get your dogs heart rate up first then use an A+ reward and keep a really high rate of reinforcement. Keep the short then break off an play tug or get him chasing you and moving then back for another quick session.