Teaching a Slow Down Cue
Dogs naturally respond to our physical cues. In week 2, we have been reinforcing our dog’s natural tendencies to follow our handling and react to changes in our running speed. We’ve introduced to them that lowering our hand could be of importance. Is that enough?
For some dogs, definitely. For others, they’ll need a little extra help. Some does need to be reinforced for slowing down, vs just turning tight and taking the jump. To reinforce them for slowing down, you’re going to introduce to them the idea of “stop sign” vs “accelerator”. Your dogside hand & foot is the accelerator. Your non-dog-side hand & foot is the stop sign. To determine which is which, stand facing the same direction as your dog. The closest hand/foot to them is the accelerator. The other hand & foot is the stop sign.
1. Stand very close to the wing with your stop sign hand and foot in front. Lower your hand, nearly blocking the jump from your dog. Release them to your hand. Reward them for stopping in front of the jump. Step back, removing the stop signs and present the jump to your dog with your accelerator hand and foot. They should offer the jump. Reward them again at your side. Do this several times on each side.
2. Take the same position as in step one, but do not present the stop sign, only the accelerator. The dog should slow down, collect, and take the jump tightly and come back to your side for their reward.
3. Change your position relative to the jump but still use the same cue combination as in step 2.