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Discussion Starter #1
So I have a little freestyle routine I'm making up for Raider and I and it came to my attention that Raider drifts. So as an example I want raider to "place". He does really well getting around me, but when I cue for a sit he shifts his weight and instead of being in heel, there's about a foot and a half of distance between him and me. We just started this so I'm not expecting perfect--I'm just not sure how to get him closer to me.

To add I've been working on getting and maintaining eye contact and the response out of him is phenomenonal! A sit pretty went from being a pop up then down, to rolling up into a beg and holding it for 5-8secs. And the quickness out of previously learned cues is increasing too!
 

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Yay! Freestyle is lots of fun! Dexter and I take a lot of freestyle classes and compete in Rally FrEe. When your routine is done please share!:)

For the sits...
Is he right side by side with you but with space between? Or does he come up into heel but then rocks back into a sit creating the space?
Do those questions make sense? If not a short little bid will probably tell me which it is!;)

For the former, happens often on rights and circling body clockwise (heel to heel). Often means the dog doesn't quite understand heel position yet. And often they need to also learn how to move their bodies... on those rights they need to speed up but also stick close. Something that has helped Dexter with this is definitely the REA platform/pivot work we've done. But also taking it a step further and having heel or ''get in'' mean shoulder to my leg. I'm actually clicking and rewarding for the physical contact. ;)

If it's the latter - rocking into a sit (back feet are glued, rear drops, and they move front feet back as they sit), you'll need to retrain a tuck sit (front feet are glued still and the dog tucks its rear under them into a sit). I've found front foot targets (right next to you where front feet need to be for heel position) to be super helpful in teaching them how to move rears into the sit. Also, with my puppy I actually taught the tuck sit very early on with a small balance disk. Had to step on and then tuck to get on it in a sit. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hm. That might be the crucial part i am missing. I haven't really taught a proper heel (just llw these days) I think! I'm not looking for crazy accurate as we don't do classes or shows right now (no money), but I still want it close for when we do. I have a pipe dream of putting on birthday day parties shows for my daughters' as well as competing some day haha.

What happens is when I have him circle (he's going clockwise) and he gets into a heel-ish spot I've click and treated while he'd standing. I didnt realixe he should be shoulder on my hip/leg. When I ask him to sit (either verbally or while attached to the leash [a slight upward and back pressure]) he kinda scoots his bum to the left, pivoting on his front paws so that he can look at me. Thus creating about a foot and a half space between my foot and him. His shoulder is sorta in the space I want him, but his rear end is most definitely not. Lol. So do you think if I have a better understanding in him of "heel" position he may fix this himself? I'm working on pivoting with me while he's perched on a pot with just front feet. He doesn't quit swing his bum yet and I have to take the tiniest of steps. Maybe I need to amp up the rear end awarness??

I'll try to get some sort of media up to show what I'm talking about a little more clear.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So I just consulted my copy of the training levels (no ebook for a real long time) and I know where to go and how to get there and what steps I'm missing.

Thanks so much for pointing me in the right direction! I'm so pumped about this lol. I love dancing and dog training. It only makes sense right? It will be a longer time getting to where I want to go but I think in a years time I will have something presentable!
 

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Ah! I got it!
Yeah, it's a need to work on defining heel position thing. Super common for them to swing to face you if they don't have a good understanding of heel position and most reinforcement for sits having been in front facing you. :)

I would start teaching that sit stationary focusing on straight sits beside you. Then just a forward heel into a halt/sit. Once solid try circling you and into the sit. If you have been working REA on a platform you can cue "get in" or whatever you use for swing into heel and then cue the sit. Circling clockwise (heel to heel) means he is already going to be sorta swinging his rear so will have a tendency to want to sit crooked. Really defining sits as straight and in heel helps. REA work helps tons especially to define heel position and how to move body to find it. Also in classes we use low pvc bars (just a few inches off ground so out of dogs' vision) to create muscle memory for straight sits. :)
 
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