Training left and right turns

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Training left and right turns

This is a discussion on Training left and right turns within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello again! I have already started digging through YouTube for videos on this, but love talking with other people about my dog so I thought ...

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Old 11-01-2017, 01:19 PM
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Training left and right turns

Hello again!

I have already started digging through YouTube for videos on this, but love talking with other people about my dog so I thought I would ask you fine folks.

I recently changed something about my morning bike rides with my pup (no longer using a bike attachment which kept her 1.5 feet away or so) so it is now much more important for my dog to learn to anticipate which way we are turning by listening to my cues.

Just wondering what your go to method for teaching right turns or left turns is! Feel free to direct me to a video or article since I imagine it might not be fun to type out something like that!
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Old 11-01-2017, 03:01 PM
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How old is your dog? Also which bike attachment did you use? I actually used the Springer bike attachment to run my dogs while doing so I taught them to go right or left by using the terms Gee which is the command to go right and Haw which is the command to go left, they picked it up very quickly!!
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Old 11-01-2017, 11:36 PM
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She's just about 1 year old. I have been using woof cycle as the bike attachment, but I think it was just encouraging her to pull harder since it kept her slightly behind me. Plus she only wore a harness when we would bike (because of the pulling) and I didn't like how the harness was pulled down at an angle/off her side.
She's been doing amazing off the attachment and is actually responding to my slow down commands.
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Old 11-02-2017, 05:43 AM
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You can easily train the same way with a short lead, the only reason I did it with the bike attachment is because I was training three huskies for sledding!!
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:51 AM
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Another way is using verbal cues, like gee and haw (probably spelled those wrong haha) people use them for horses when pulling carts/wagons and some mushers use it with there sled dogs, gee means turn right and haw turn left. You can do ground work with the dog and every time you want them to turn that way use the cue so they have an idea and when you are on a bike use the words every time you turn and they should be able to pick it up like most command words given. I did this with my one dog Dixion when we did bikejoring.
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Old 11-08-2017, 01:39 PM
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She already seems to be responding to gee and haw.
I guess I didn't think it would be so easy since she still only sort of responds to my slow down command.
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Old 11-08-2017, 02:05 PM
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Glad to hear she's picking up on the cues.

Like Ratchet mentioned, associating a verbal cue with consistency to a desired behavior will eventually be picked up by the dog. I just use "left" and "right" when I'm biking with my dog as well the "slow" and a "come about" when we do u-turns but it really doesn't matter what verbal cues one uses as long as it is unique to the desired behavior. If you do any off lead tracking exercises, something as simple as hiding a ball/toy/food scrap and then release the dog to search for it, try using your "gee" and "haw" when the dog is fairly close to the target and guide your dog in verbally. My opinion is this creates a team approach and solidifies your directional cues. Have fun with it and when your dog turns the proper direction you command, give her some over the top praise.
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:36 AM
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I don't like all these odd commands. I use plain English with a couple exceptions. In our early training of heel, I just used " go left or go right". Spoken as a run on word. At the same time I was teaching a " watch me " command. Again, spoken as one word. " watch me " is very important. The dog much pay attention to me immediately. It's rewarded for successful action. Then high value rewarded when the dog does it without command. Eventually the dog watches both by directly looking up and out of the corner of his eye.

The dog will key on your movements. I used heel command initially to teach the exercise but the goal was to always start heel from the left foot. Leaving on the right foot means stay in position. The dog is watching you for his signal.

Since the dog knows heel means stay even with you as you walk, as you turn one way or the other the dog just follows. You use your go left or go right to teach but eventually the dog follows your movements. We practiced 90 degree turns in place. Pivots. Again the dog is watching you as a result of being taught watch me.

When we are in the field on the long leashes 30-100 feet I use " this way" with an arm signal. Either left or right. I also move in the direction desired. You could teach a left or right in case the dog can't see you but you may not be able to see him either so it can get confusing. My dog has remarkable sense of direction when I call turns in the field. If I turn say 90 degrees to the travel direction and command this way. The dog is able to determine which direction I'm commanding that he go by the sound direction variation.

She is getting pretty good at leaving distractions and following my commands at a distance. This is really her free time so she could just blow me off but she has learned that there is probably something better in the direction I'm commanding.

I'm not training for competition just an extension of " streetwise " everyday utility. I like to look at training from the dogs' perspective. Talking dog talk is what is was taught to me. Dogs don't know our language, only variations in sounds and tones. They are extremely good at detecting and acting on movements. Couple that with your voice commands for your benefit then simply delete the voice command ....unless you need it your self.
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Old 11-11-2017, 10:45 AM
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Bentwings

Agree with your comments regarding how many dogs key on our body motions. I think some of it depends on the nature of the training. I prove this point to others with the left and right leg stepaways you mentioned, left= dogs moves with me in the slot and right= stay put/await my return or recall and then do the same exercise with only verbal cues using the wrong step aways. My dog responds to which leg is moving forward versus the paired incorrect verbal cue but I can get the dog to respond to the verbal cue using the incorrect first leg forward but not with nearly the same consistency. Obviously, I don't do it often as it could compromise the training but it demonstrates the point of the power of body and hand signals if one trains that way.

The problem with the use of training reliance on body and hand gestures as in OPs situation is the need for verbal commands is pretty much necessary since the OP is on a bike. Over time and association with verbal cues for left, right, slow, run, come about, stop etc. paired with the bike's path and speed, the dog learns to key on the proximity of the bike. If I start a gentle turn left and the bike gets closer to the dog, the dog adjusts and keeps proper spacing and effectively makes a gentle turn to the left, all accomplished through experience/repetition regardless of verbal cues hence your keying on body movement but in this instance it's keying on the bike. However, if I should make a sharp left turn, it is easy for the dog to be caught by surprise and possibly collide with the bike therefore the verbal cues are pretty much a requirement IMO. There are also times where I allow the dog to run faster while I am on the bike and the dog has been taught to take a farther forward position of our normal slower speed position which is essentially in the heel slot. With the dog up front, she has nothing to key on except my verbal cues and leash pressure for speed control. So, I think it is a mixed bag as to when verbal commands versus body/hand gestures work best.
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Old 11-11-2017, 11:43 AM
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I don't think it matters which verbal cues you use, as long as you use them consistently. If you want them to truly be independent cues (not requisite of bike motion indicating direction), I would teach them on the ground without the bike first. If you just want them to be solid on the bike, you could just introduce it on the bike. Hand signals are also an option if the latter, and if your dog will be running in a position where they can see you (not in front).

I hold the dog(s) leash in my hand when biking them usually (I do occasionally use a flexi looped onto the handlebar- how's that for inappropriate use! -but my dog would be reliable biking off leash so it's a formality), and usually have them on my left side because I'm right handed and prefer to use that hand to steer the bike (future dogs I will probably put more effort into teaching to go on the right side, as it's the side away from traffic, they will go on the right if placed there, but it's awkward for all of us). I usually keep them level with me or near the back wheel. When we go right, they automatically follow the bike, which is inside, as it turns away from them. When we go left, I hold my left arm (with the leash(es)) out and slightly back, and or say, "wait", which slows them down, and they turn in response to the bike coming in toward them. When cars pass, I use a slightly stronger (or repeated) "wait", and move my leash hand back to guide them behind the bike until all clear. They seem to cue pretty well off of just the hand motions as to what I want them to do, but both are pretty good on leash as far as paying attention to what I'm donig. When I bike both at once, I usually use a coupler (or will leash one and put a short tab from that one to the other), but occasionally use 2 leashes. I prefer to keep them beside me, as that is what gives the ability to resist the dog pulling where you don't want to go, vs if the dog is in front, they can use your forward momentum against you. Not a big deal with the current small dogs I bike, but when I have done it with larger dogs, it was the difference between having control if something crazy (loose dog, cat running across the street, etc) happened, or not. I usually bike my dogs in flat collars, as have noticed the same as you re: harness slipping to the side, and also that my dogs seem to move out more freely with less. They aren't usually big pullers, so the collars work ok for us.
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