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Teaching the Side Transport

Side Transport in Schutzhund I am just now teaching JaJa this exercise, and the first time or two we had the same issue. Do you have a marker for your dog that lets them know exactly when they are doing what you want? This is what we did. I had my dog loosely heeling with me, ie she wasn't on any sort of strict heeling command, but was in the heel position. I made a fairly large circle, walked up next to the decoy, and we both started to walk away together. She glanced at him for just a second when he started to walk and I gave her a verbal marker. I stopped, the decoy took one more step, turned and "paid" her. It seemed to help if we weren't doing focused heeling when we first approached the decoy, but were more informal. It only took 2 training sessions for her to get comfortable with the idea of not having to focus on me for this exercise, now I'm putting it with the "transport" command. She now focuses on the decoy for 99% of the transport, with only one or two quick glances at me for positioning. We are only 4 or 5 sessions into it, so now we are working on cleaning up the exact position where she is walking, but she's picking it up very fast. I think as soon as they realize they can get "paid" for something other than eye contact with you, it goes pretty quickly. The reason we stop, have the decoy take a step, turn, then pay is so she doesn't ever anticipate "payment" while in the transport position. The idea being it will help prevent her taking cheap shots there, since the payment comes when the decoy is in front of her, not next to her. By using the verbal marker though, she knows what she's getting "paid" for, and when she was correct.

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