Body Awareness ~ Rear Legs

I’m having quite a bit of fun training Kory dog. I’m not in a big hurry or anything; however he learns so quickly that I’m looking for new tricks and bits to incorporate into our three times a day sessions. I’d very much like to do some body awareness kinds of exercises. Particularly I would like this boy to strengthen and be very aware of his back legs. This is a thing that is largely overlooked in our training. I understand that people will walk their dogs through ladders and that kind of thing. But it’s really not a strengthening exercise.

What I started doing today is a simple “up” which means he needs to stand on his back feet. And I’ll reward him for doing so. On the introduction my criteria isn’t so great. Ultimately I’ll have him stand for a longer time, perhaps walk around, and even turn.

I’ll dream up more strengthening and awareness exercises before I’m through. And if anybody wants to recommend, I’ll be happy to listen.

Reference Library

With my camp winding down there are some things I’m thinking about with the bunch I’m working with. The term “Reference Library” comes to mind. This is an expression that Marsha uses to explain cuing performance to her obedience students. “When I want you to do this… it looks like this. And when I want you to do that, it looks like that.” It helps the dog develop a reference library for clarity of instruction.

I’m a big advocate of non-verbal cues. Though I will use verbal cues to substantiate what I am saying with my non-verbal (there might be times you only have the verbal to give).

What I do with my body when I conduct a movement is speak a word that is true and crisp and uniquely distinct to the extent that it can be language to my dog. Language is born in the consistency of use and the clarity of the unique expression.

What I often see in the non-verbal cues of the handler is a fuzzy indifference as often as not caused by the handler’s lack of trust in the dog.

Tomorrow I’m going to try to bring home the lesson. But I’m fully aware that teaching is a game of repetition. Sometimes a person won’t hear a thing until he’s ready to learn it.

A Minuet


Interesting Sequence ~ Alternate Departures


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: And Check out my new publication the Idea BookAgility Training for a Small Universe available at


One Response to “Body Awareness ~ Rear Legs”

  1. beth murray Says:

    Rear limb strength?
    I’m sure you’ve seen “Rookie” the golden
    doing canine freestyle . (See Youtube) For a golden, he can
    stay up forever on his rear legs. If I had any rhythm
    or coordination I’d learn this game!
    As it is, I have Coda jump up and place her
    front legs on my waist as we go forward and backward, part
    of her stretching at trials when confined to camper, crate,
    or motel room when she’d like to be home running the hills.

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