Teaching the Forge - 1
Introducing the forge is all about teaching our dogs to walk in front of us within a specific range. But all the trainers say that we need to have our dogs in a heel, looking straight at our eyes... Yes, numerous trainers teach the Heel as do I. Heel is one of the easiest skills and is fundamental to how we train our dogs at Barefoot Paws. Heel is great for establishing a social bond with our dogs.
Teaching a discriminate Forge however is about manipulating the intrinsic prey mode of our dogs and coupling it with that social mode. What we will be discovering is that we can provide situations whereby our dogs can find themselves in the Search phase of the Predatory sequence and still maintain a social connection with us, their handler.
To begin teaching this skill we will install 2 skills operantly:
Go (move ahead) Stop (Cease movement/everything)
These two skills will allow us to direct the dogs movement and maintain range.
We will install 3 skills classically:
Range (2-3m) Left (taking the left fork at a junction) Right (taking the right fork at a junction)
These skills will allow us to maintain an optimal range that will be relative to the social threshold of our dog, the easier the dog flips into social the further out they can range.
The directional skills are usefull in this skill set as they allow us to direct our forward progress at intersections. The purpose of this is to create a walk that is much more in tune with how dogs would explore their environment whilst maintaining a social connection. During the video you will notice that Koda continually looks to the side and back toward me, this is her "checking in" and displaying her social connection. It is precisely this intrinsic behaviour that we want to capitalise on. She will move at a pace that we can maintain and take us towards the end goal.