I’ve made two changes to my training since my last “pivoting” blog in order to improve Raika’s pivots; I’ve stabilized my left foot (no more walking in circles!) and I’ve moved my target hand slightly further back, to give her more time to adapt to my choice of direction.  Further forwards is always a bit harder on left turns and left pivots.

To see clearly, place your curser on my left toe – as much as possible I do not want to move from that spot for this exercise.  Note that at 9-10 sec  and  1:05-1:06 sec she “jumps” back to stay in position – I don’t want that! To get rid of it I ignore it and only reward smooth movement.  I’m also more tolerant of jumping if it only happens on the first step – like a kick back stand, than if she does it continuously.  Jumping shows lack of physical control and coordination, and speed (dog or handler) masks errors; both are a problem for me.  I want smooth, slow, controlled, parallel movement.  If I have that then I can teach any heeling maneuver that might require a pivot, sideways, or backwards for any competition.

Here I’m also doing a bit of work to the right, mostly to prevent her from strictly anticipating work to the left and also to demonstrate that she “wraps” her body more around mine in that direction.  That works ok for me; I’m not nearly as picky about going to the right as I am to the left.

My primary reason for teaching pivots is to reinforce excellent heel position.  No matter what I do or what direction I travel (sideways, forwards, backwards, fast slow, left, etc.) I want my dog to keep her head in exactly one spot by my side and move her rear end smoothly and parallel to me.  If I take a videotape and run it in slow motion – I want to see parallel throughout; not only at the start and finish.