Teaching Turns

This is a useful thing to teach a dog regardless of what sport you are part of.

In sledding, scootering, bike-joring etc turns are usually referred to as gee and haw.

In agility and I think Rally-O, most people say right or left. 🙂 why….who knows…just do whatever works for you. 🙂 I have no idea what terminology is used in Canine freestyle but I assume that most want to use gestures in that sport anyways, make it more “dance-like”.

So how does one teach a turn?

Several different methods

1. Teach the dog to spin or turn on command. Spin being counter-clockwise, turn being clockwise. Do this using a lure or your hand or whatever just to get the dog to move. use the lure no more than 3-4 times, you want your dog to think about what it is doing, not just following the lure.

2. one lady says that she teaches it this way:
I start with the dog on my side and have them do a 180 to face the other direction. Hard to describe when not in person, but it goes something like this: Dog is on my right. I have a treat in my left hand. I gesture to the dog to turn away from me (to his right). I turn the same way and then reward him with the treat in my left hand (now the hand that is closest to him). After a while I will name it “Right.” I always reward the dog on my side and not facing me. Do the same for the other side.

3. Teach using daily life experiences: i.e. when turning a corner, say “right” or “left” depending on which way you are turning. When throwing a toy, toss it right or left and give the dog the directive to follow it.

4. some people, especially agility folks, uses their arms only to signal changes. Using the on-side arm can signal a flip (turn just a bit here), whereas using the off-side arm can signal a complete change in direction.

If you have any additional ideas, please let me know. 🙂


2 thoughts on “Teaching Turns

  1. teaching turns is a good thing to do, mind you, most border collies are really good at reading body language, if you can keep yours consistent (as in your body consistent) then shifting from side to side might be enough (except for those darn tunnels!). 😉

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