Instructor: Julie Flanery
In Rally-FrEe and musical freestyle there are four primary positions: Left heel, right heel, standing center and behind facing the handler. While maintaining position, the dog is required to move in any direction. In this course we will work through exercises and handler skills to define, and create precision and accuracy in positions and teach precise execution of pivots, lateral movement (side-passes) and backing. We'll focus on clear and consistent criteria using props and shaping, build value in that criteria and work through the process of placing these skills on verbal cue, preventing dependency on and the removal of props or aids. Don't do freestyle? The processes apply to any sport where positions, laterals and backing are valued.
There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.
Registration will begin at 11:00 AM Pacific Time.
For answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.
Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 12 students, Bronze: unlimited.
Silver level for this class is offered as "Working Silver". In addition to asking GENERAL clarification questions about the class lecture materials, silver students will now have the opportunity to submit two short videos, one minute each, for critique and review. You may submit two questions. Each question MUST have a one minute video attached so the instructor can actually answer a question that they can see. The question must relate to a topic in the class and the video must be a demo of the question. Please see the discussion forum for a detailed explanation - feel free to sign up at bronze, read the explanation, and then come back here to upgrade to silver if that interests you, and if space is available.
If you are interested in a bronze level subscription, you can sign up at any time during the registration period.
Week 1: Standing Platforms, Naming Positions and Cue Discrimination
Building Value in Positions
Week 2: Adding Movement: Pivot Platforms
Successful Removal of Platforms and Transferring the Cue
Shaping up for Robust Positions
Week 3: Stand by Me! Maintaining Position in Laterals and Side-passes
Week 4: The Illusive Straight Standing Center
Week 5: Backing in center, heel and right
Week 6: Behind Position: Follow Me! And Alternative Position: Handler's Choice
Use of markers or clickers will be prevalent in this course. Handlers should already be using markers in their training and dogs should have understanding of the click/treat relationship.
Handlers should understand the process of "shaping" or marking and rewarding small increments of behavior toward building the end result.
Gold level students will need the ability to video their training sessions and upload thier video to YouTube, then post in the forums for intructor review.
Standing platforms: Your platforms should be large enough for your dog to stand on, but that's about it! Too long is generally fine, but you don't want your platform too short or your dog will not feel comfortable standing. The width should be 1-2 inches wider than your dog's rear feet. The height should be at least 3 inches. You'll need at least 2 standing platforms, 3 would be great, especially when we work cue discrimination. You can purchase online here, or make your own. There are a couple of good YouTube vids that show you how. Heather Lawson has posted a couple and they are available in the alumni FB page links as well as here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/fenzi-dog-sports-academy-alumni-group/links-and-directions-for-building-your-own-platforms-or-other-class-related-equi/434893850035173
Pivot platforms: Sometimes referred to as "perches" or "disks". These are small platforms, just large enough for the dog's front paws. Just as with your standing platforms, you do not what your pivot platforms to be too much larger than your dog's front paws. Too much space and your dog will move his front feet too much, when the objective is to keep the front feet stationary and the rear feet moving. I use upside down dog food dishes as they come in a variety of sizes. I also like the round shape rather than a square shape. they often have rubber bottom as well. If they don't, gluing a piece of yoga mat or shelf liner can help with grip. You may also want a piece underneath the dish if working on a slick floor.
mat, towel or crate pad
Please contact me if you have any questions regarding equipment.
Wk 4 The Illusive Straight, Standing Center
The standing Front or Center seems like an easy enough behavior at first. After all, all the dog has to do is stand there, in front of me. Oh, and he needs to be straight in line with my body, and look up at me, and not move for several seconds at a time. Oh, and he has to move with me and maintain that straight position, perfectly in line with me…. Okay, so maybe it’s not so easy!
The standing front is probably one of the most difficult positions to build accuracy in and maintain criteria in. It is a position you will want to reinforce generously and be critical of criteria in order to maintain it.
This week we’ll focus on creating value in the standing front position, then add movement.
The below exercise can be quite fun for the dog. You can see how Kashi gets more animated the more reps we do.
(platform through legs)
While in this clip I am always moving to the other side of the platform, after several reps you can also start to toss between your legs but stay there so that the dog has to come all the way around you to get to front. Be sure to provide fast food.
You can alternate this exercise on and off the platform. When off the platform, you may need to shape up, but once it appears the dog understands the criteria, be critical of what you click. Tossing through the legs will help the dog want to line up straight for the cleanest and quickest possible thru to the treat.
Below is another platform exercise to help the dog learn the context of the standing front and how to line up to your hips (or knees depending on the size of your dog!). Be sure you cue first, then move. You can see how difficult this is for Kashi at first, but she gets better!
You'll want to start with the platforms very separated - here I start with 90-degree angles. The farther away the platforms are from each other, the easier it is for the dog to switch to the next when you cue then move. The second clip I"ve brought them closer. You can also work this in a straight line, first with distance, then closer together.
You want to click early, as soon as your dog has made the choice by putting any feet on the platform. If you click and they move to an incorrect platform, place your treat in front of you, at your intended platform and the position in front of you. You will see me do that below when Kashi crosses the one in front of me.
Working in a chute with the training gates is another great way to teach entry into front as well as movement into front. Below I start with a short gate and am build her entry from different angles.
The below clips are pretty much the same as the first standing platform exercises but with the gates. You can also lengthen the gates, sSetting up 2 gates in an alley and working 1-step standing fronts (you give your cue, then step back one step, C/T), and providing fast food is another way to build value and accuracy in coming into a standing front. This provides the dog with several reps with a high rate of reinforcement in a short period of time. While I don't have a video of it, I do recommend doing it. Remember, the more ways you can reward the same criteria when using different props, the more likely that criteria will become valuable to the dog and the easier to remove the props.
Once on the flat, an exercise that will move you toward your front side passes is splitting your 45-degree curve with a step back. This helps prevent the dog from wanting to swing all the way to the left or right when you start to pivot or work the curve.
On all of these exercises, to help prevent sitting, be sure to feed with the head level or low, and go back to working your stand exercises if needed.
As always you can continue to work the exercises from previous weeks. Let me know if you have questions!
A sampling of what prior students have said about this course ...
I loved this class. This is the third class I have taken from Julie, and all of them have been rewarding and fun. I am glad she split the class into two parts to give us a bit more time to concentrate on each exercise. The freestyle moves seem like magic when you are watching them, but Julie has great methods to teach them in increments with the aid of props. She has an eye for detail and precision and has great suggestions about how to get there. We are really starting to get it. My dog loves the training and runs inside the training gates when I put them up eagerly wanting to begin. Julie is very encouraging, upbeat and positive with a lovely manner. Sandy H
The Rally FrEe positions class was new this session. I had been hoping something like this would be offered and this class certainly was exactly what I had hoped for and more. RallyFrEe has many positions needed to compete. Most instructors are not familiar with all the positions required. With Julie being the "founder" no one better to work with! Thank you FDSA for adding her to the academy Connie L
This is an awesome course as a thorough understanding of the Rally FrEe positions is invaluable. Julie provides extensive information through lectures and videos and then follows that up with fantastic advice & guidance. Melita R
I can't say enough good things about the Rally Free/Musical Freestyle classes and Fenzi Academy. It has opened a whole new world to me and my fur babies. Pat K
For students in most of the world, RallyFree courses are not available in person locally. However, not to worry! You can take RallyFree classes from the founder of the RallyFree venue, here at FDSA. It is a great opportunity that we are so lucky to have! Holly K.
Wow ! I am so impressed with the Fenzi “classroom” approach. The combination of a top-notch instructor with amazing observation skills / feedback and video are unbeatable. This level of instruction, much less in my field of interest, is not available for me within a days drive. I’m also now hooked on video and will be videoing my own practice sessions. Katherine S.
I love that Julie is so thorough with the foundation behaviors. This is only going to make us that much stronger as we progress. She always provides a road map for each individual team so we know how to continue training a behavior even after class ends. Very valuable! Stacey M.