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Thread: The long down!

  1. The long down!

    This was an exercise I wasn't familiar with, it apparently comes from Margot Woods version of an exercise known as sitting on the dog. I am working the dog as I type, a bit distracting. The exercise is a passive exercise where the handler has a six foot lead and slip collar ( also known as a choker ). The handler runs the lead from the left side of a chair to the right and sits on it. Enough slack is given so that the dog can lie down when it has calmed itself into a relaxed state. There should be just enough tension in the lead so that when the dog is lying down there is slight upward pressure. I was told that this seems to be of some comfort to the dog but even the originators of this exercise weren't sure why. At no time during this exercise should you speak, look or interact with the dog except to stop destructive behaviors. Again, no verbal corrections. Exercise should be at lest thirty minutes, no max. I'm at thirty five minutes and she is showing signs of anxiety, I plan to wait her out, to stop now only adds to confusion and reinforces her inability to find her inner doggie zen.

  2. #2
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    Re: The long down!

    I'm glad to see this exercise discussed as it has been around a very long time; I find it very helpful with adolescent dogs. I think it is helpful to also teach relaxation skills, however, this belongs in the realm of good dog parenting--- you must because 'I said so'--- and it greatly enhances leadership.

    The fact that verbal corrections are not used takes the unpleasant part of teaching a solid stay out and the entire exercise gives you reinforce-able behaviors.

    Adding leash tension to the lead creates opposition reflex and gives the beginner dog something active to do during a static exercise.
    Last edited by George Bailey; 01-30-2014 at 08:54 PM.
    George Bailey

  3. Re: The long down!

    Do you guys have any video of this? I'm having a hard time visualizing...

  4. Re: The long down!

    I have a DVD but it's Margot Woods protected property. Linda Kaim posted a video of her working with a young beagle on the RRRR training group. If I can get Laura to work with me I'll post us doing it. A bit of a hint, do it some where free of tempting articles of distractions,table legs,paper they may reach and chew in boredom. I found this out through learned failure on my part. Reduces the correction to the dog. Again no command or visual contact. Let the dog find it's happy place or doggie zen. Start with your chair in the spot you have chosen. With the lead behind you and the dog at your side simply sit down on the lead with the dog at your side. just enough slack so that it can lay down but there will be slight upward tension on the slip collar. Just enough for gentle pressure. Don't give up, wait for the dog to settle. Min. 30 minutes. Eat,drink,work on the computer or what ever. Stopping will only confuse the dog and reinforce the confusion to the dog, IMO.

  5. Re: The long down!

    OK so GB, you are saying that the upward pressure on the leash creates an oppositional reflex to lie down....right? Thereby making the long down something the dog chooses to do? I think I'm starting to get a visual in my head, Chris. I will try it as i sit here. I have one who definitely needs work on this exercise. Will report back!

  6. Re: The long down!

    Oh one question...what should the dog's position be? Perfect beside me, or just down there staying?

  7. #7
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    Re: The long down!

    For me, it's just down there staying, but also choosing to relax, which in turn is named, bridged and reinforced- not with a physical motivator, but rather, with appreciation.
    My littlest pup is still a trouble maker, she's always thinking always doing, if you are not totally working her or interacting with her, you'd better keep an eye on her for she will find something to DO- she's both bright and creative.
    George Bailey

  8. Re: The long down!

    The author, which I dare not name, says the exercise should be done twice daily. George, are you suggesting naming,bridging and reinforcing the behavior? I will continue to let the dog do this through cogitative learning. This may take a long time because it is up to the dog,not us, to figure out the parameters. In this exercise it is self calmness. It doesn't matter where the dog lays down as long as it's not on you and there is a slight upward tension on the collar. There is no verbal communication to the dog and no eye contact.

  9. #9
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    Re: The long down!

    Chris, I want the dog to find that place mentally, too, but also to have the ability to define it and reinforce it - for me, this would be verbal praise and bridging, which becomes really important info for the dog down the road when we take the behavior to the real life situation.
    I often think that instructors tell new students to not say anything to stop repetitive 'commands' which can become many things not conducive to learning.
    Another thing to consider is that often people and dogs both think that praise or reinforcement stops the behavior (chain), bridging can be done at any time during the process and can both extend and give duration.
    To me this exercise is pretty much the same as waiting for the dog to figure out making eye contact, without cuing it, earns it the cookie, bridge, ball, whatever, it's just the opposite end of the emotional or chemical spectrum that we are trying to help them achieve.
    George Bailey

  10. Re: The long down!

    "bridging can be done at any time during the process and can both extend and give duration"

    Thank you!

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