Instructor: Julie Flanery
Advanced freestyle behaviors are Cool! and Fun! and Oh my! did you see what that dog just did!
Learn to train many of the skills seen in advanced musical freestyle routines and Rally-FrEe advanced classes. You'll learn how to break down these behaviors for a more complete understanding and less frustration for you and your dog.
This course will go through all of the steps in teaching advanced skills of circling backward around the handler, turn-back thru, back weaves, and distance behaviors, with an emphasis on precision and starting and finishing in position.
Gold students may each choose an additional intermediate/advanced skill they would like to be coached on.
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 10:30 AM Pacific Time.
For answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.
Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 5 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.
Each Gold student can choose an additional behavior that they would like to learn how to train or get coaching on. Handler choice behaviors can be included in your vids for any week.
Target stick use in advanced skills
Starting back circles
Training distance as a concept
Back circles - adding the cue and removing props
Transitional target stick skills
Backing to distance behaviors
Starting turn back thru
Continue back circles on other side - adding the cue, removing props
Turn back thru - adding the turn, adding the cue, removing props
Starting Back weaves - options in training
Back weaves - adding the cue, removing props
Back Figure 8's
Gold students: Pre-requisite of RA 501 and 502 or higher (Foundation Skills for Musical Freestyle and Rally-FrEe 1 and 2) along with skills listed below. RA 510 or 511 recommended.
Students should be familiar with the use of markers, either a clicker or verbal marker and should understand the process of “shaping” or marking and rewarding small increments of behavior toward building the end result.
Dogs should have foundation skills of circling the handler, spins in left and right heel, be able to comfortably pass through the handler’s legs, and be able to remain in a standing position in left and right heel and in front of the handler. Dogs should also understand the concept of backing and have good rear end awareness.
Dogs and handlers should be comfortable using "training gates". Please see equipment list.
Please contact me if you have any questions regarding pre-requisites.
We’ll be using target sticks for some behaviors. Target sticks should be 14-18 inches long and have a distinct “target” at the end. If you don’t have a target stick, a household item may be used, such as a long wooden spoon or you can make one from a wooden or acrylic dowel and a foam practice golf ball. Target sticks can also be purchased online.
We will be using “training gates” to create clear criteria and eliminate the need for hand cues. These can be purchased at www.rallyfree.com/products.
Very large dogs or dogs that may not respect barriers may use 18”-24’ Ex-pens. Small dogs under 14 inches may use “critter trail play pen” found online.
We will also be using platforms for some exercises.
Please contact me if you have any questions regarding equipment.
WK 5: BACK THRU
POSTED IN RA512 LECTURES
Back weaves have most commonly been taught using lure/reward and turning the dog’s head out, then “pushing” the food on the dog’s nose back thru the legs. Having the food do the work, means the dog doesn’t have to be thoughtful about the behavior or about how to earn that food. We'll be using skills the dog already has been taught to create a better understanding of the mechanics of the skill.
Below is a vid clip of a back thru.
There are a couple of different ways The back thu or back weave can be performed. It can be performed as a stationary skill (which is how I train it to start) or it can be performed as a moving skill as it is performed for Rally-FrEe. In Rally-FrEe it is sign #58 “back thru moving x 3”, and is performed with the handler leaving the start position, stepping back then leaving the foot there behind for the next rep, rather than bringing the foot forward again. This changes the handler’s balance and when performing it this way you’ll need to experiment with your weight shift to your back leg. Below is Cassandra Hartman and her dog Davis showing the 2 different handler variations.
There are a couple of different ways to train this. To me, the easiest is to take cued behaviors the dog already understands and combine them to create the new behavior. There is some use of the training gates to help guide the dog initially, but they aren’t needed for long.
We'll be using skills you've been working on in class to create this new behavior. If your dog understands how to back around you from both the left and the right, and your dog has understanding of your left and right side heel cues, then teaching a back weave can go fairly quickly. If your dog does not have these foundation skills for this behavior, or does not yet understand the mechanics of training the turn back thru, then you may want to focus on those before starting your back weaves. In the end it will save you time and create a stronger behavior.
If your dog understands your left and right position cues and your CW and CCW back circle cues, then you need only to add one more criteria: thru my leg.
Start with your gates in a circle or square configuration and warm up with your back circle from both left and right sides. After a couple of successful reps, step back and give your back circle cue. As soon as your dog’s rear swings behind you and starts to pass thru, C/T. He may pull forward. Give the treat anyway, but on the next rep hold your click a little longer until he is farther thru your legs.
Once thru your legs, he could end up in a couple of places. Either, turning his head into you and ending up in a side position next to you facing forward, or with his rear facing forward as if continuing a back circle. Either way, place the treat next to your leg in a place where his head would be if he chose to come into a position facing forward.
After several of successful reps, start giving your right or left heel position cues as your dog goes thru. Give your position cue at the point where you would have clicked him starting to pass through. Now rather than clicking for going thru, click for coming into position and do a little fast food there.
Once the back weave is predictable and the dog is coming into position you’ll want to transfer to the new back thru cue. To transfer to the new back weave cue ( I use “swing”), insert it either just before putting your leg back (as he is likely to offer on that cue), or just before giving your back circle cue. I also give the position cue to remind the dog to come into position after going thru, as they will need to put some effort into changing the direction of their momentum to do so.
Below are a couple of clips of dogs getting started with the back thru. The first is of Kashi and you’ll see how the gates are a cue for her to circle back around me. I have to work to get her to stop. This is a benefit when teaching the back weaves as it guarantees a strong desire to do the back circle in spite of the obstacle of my leg stepping back. You’ll also see me fumble a bit with balance. It can help to do this near something you can hold onto if you have balance issues. Once you both get a bit better at it, you aren’t likely to need any aid.
Notice how above, Sharon uses her food to keep Finn in position until she gets her balance.
You can also use the target stick exercise you’ve been practicing. With the gates in a square or an alley, and your dog next to you, step back and then use your target stick to turn the dog’s head out away from you and then give your back cue or swing the target out and back behind you. Click as he goes thru, and place the treat to encourage him to move to heel positon to get it. Repeat on the opposite side.
After several successful reps, start to give your positon cue. C/T the dog coming into position. Then you can start to add your new cue, just before the presentation of your target stick. Hold your click until the dog passes thru, then give your positon cue and C/T. FF in position. You’ll be able to drop the position cue as the dog will start to anticipate it. Don’t be in a hurry though. Maintaining the position cue isn’t a problem.
A sampling of what prior students have said about this course ...
To say this class was amazing would be an understatement. Although the moves were difficult and challenging, Julie lets you go at your own pace and concentrate on whatever areas you want. The things we have accomplished in the last year of training with Julie blows my mind! Stacey M.
I just hope that Julie Flannery will always continue to teach at FDSA, because there is nowhere else we could learn this. Most of us don't have any local resources. And Julie is truly a gifted teacher. Her approach just really clicks for me, and has impacted all my training with all my dogs, not just my RFE training with my RFE dog.
Julies classes are always so inspiring ! Such a talented and experienced instructor who provides such fantastic help & guidance to all participants Mel R
Julie is incredibly supportive and sensitive when people have challenging sessions. And the best part - she celebrates our successes as much as we do.
Julie is AMAZING!! Excellent videos and details to help me become more successful.I in training my brilliant but difficult hog. I am taking her class in October!
Julie, The Magician, strikes again. Thank you for further expanding my knowledge. I know Diesel appreciates everything you do because his mom is better able to communicate with him, thanks to you.