TEACHING A DOG LEFT/RIGHT

It’s pretty amazing to read that some people (I’ve read 26%, but haven’t checked the journals) carry the challenge of distinguishing left from right all the way into adulthood. It is definitely a more challenging skill for children, with a wide range of when they begin to get it, and, for my purposes, when they truly know it (the consensus seems to be around ages 7-8). Considering this in relation to dogs, it is pretty amazing that a dog can be taught pretty quickly to spin right or left.

One true right/left discrimination challenge would be right/left spins cued purely by verbals. In the training process, it’s imperative you beware and don’t give any body language cues, which could be so subtle (like an eyebrow lift) that you don’t realize your doing it.  I go to great lengths to make sure not to inadvertently throw in “give away” clues, since visual cues totally trump verbals. Training a dog to learn the left from right can be a really fun challenge…and incredibly frustrating if you don’t know how to help the dog through the learning process. Let me know if you want some help!

In my first competition run for Rally-FrEe, I chose to show a left/right spin discrimination as my wild card trick for 1 of the 4 Free Choice signs. Check it out here at 1:34

 

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