I’m working on Dice’s position changes and have been for a few months now.
Getting consistent position changes without forward motion can be a challenge, especially in Mondio ring where the dog will be placed quite far away from me and distractions will be a part of the exercise. The basic exercise is similar to the Cue Discrimination exercise in AKC Open Obedience, but the distances are greater and the dog does up to six positions at the highest level and with significant planned distractions.
One way to avoid the creeping is to teach the dog that positions are followed by moving further away, which is followed by the reward. An example would be having the dog back up either at the end of position changes or in between each one. Or, more likely, some combination of the two.
Another option is to end the position changes with a send to a physical target behind the dog. In this case, I’m sending him to the wall. The reason is that Mondio takers place within an enclosed field, which means there is always a barrier behind the dog – same as in AKC. If Dice predicts the pattern then creeping should be avoided, or at least minimized, while we develop the habits I’d like to see. The first step would be to send to a toy or food behind the dog – this is more advanced, and is a great way to move your dog to a more random pattern of rewards and behavior chains.
Here’s an example. He’s not smooth and fluent yet but that will come with time and experience. At nine months of age, there is certainly no hurry, as I tend to “train early and trial late”.
A few blogs ago I showed this with a cone behind – now I’m moving to an even more advanced version which has excellent ring carryover – the barrier is in the ring. The cone is not.