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This would be considered an advanced action and with most dogs takes a bit of patience to accomplish. I used a clicker in teaching it.
This is a clip from our movie "Paws to Dance" where Jyah and Sydney are doing a choreographed "dance" that was shot in sequences. Limping (hopping on three legs) was a move within the "dance."
I began by holding up the dog's leg at the ankle in a way they did not depend too heavily on my supporting the leg. (See Step 1.) My dogs are target trained, so I then request them to touch my hand with their nose while holding my hand just out of reach. As soon as they hop forward to reach my hand, I click and reward. (If the dog is not target trained, it could be “lured” with a piece of food.) The object is to get the dog used to the idea of walking on three legs.
Step 1: To get him used to walking on three legs, I support Jyah's raised ankle while asking him to hop forward.
Step 2: I fold Jyah's ankle under while lightly holding his foot and encourage him to hop. With the ankle folded under, he cannot rely on my hand to hold up his leg. I click only when the supporting foot is off the ground in a hop.
How I taught the limp.
Step 3: I use my pointer finger under Jyah's ankle to remind him to keep his leg raised. I simultaneously click and quickly remove my finger at the height of the hop.
Step 4: To get distance between myself and Jyah, I use a dowel pin to prompt him to keep his leg raised whle hopping. I click only when the supporting foot is off the ground.
This is an important step in getting the dog to limp on his own .
Note: Some dogs get this action very quickly and easily by the usual method of putting a leash under the dog's leg to hold it up and asking him to come forward, but for many other dogs it takes time, patience, and a different technique to achieve.
I wanted the three-legged hopping move to fit a place in the music for Jyah and Sydney's “dance” - so, three hops for Jyah and two for Sydney was my goal for this
Once the dog is comfortable moving forward on three legs (over a period of several training sessions), I fold the ankle back under and keep my hand underneath - which transitions the dog into using his own power rather than relying on my support of his leg. (See Step 2.) I encourage the dog to move forward and click as the supporting foot comes off the ground. (I do not reward after every click, but rather at the end of the sequence of hops I want the dog to do.) When done several at a time, the click marks the correct action and acts as an intermediate bridge -- then as a final bridge which gets the reward. I “help” the dog in this way until I think he is ready for the next step.
When the dog will hop forward with me holding, but not supporting, the foot for several steps, I then began slipping my ponter finger under the ankle and at the exact moment the dog hops, I simultaneously click and quickly remove my finger. (See Step 3.) I do this until the dog will hop when I cue him while just touching the side of his ankle.
When I feel that the dog will hop on his own, I began using a 36-inch dowel pin to touch the ankle while requesting the hop. This begins to put distance between me and the dog so he doesn't rely on my proximity to do this action. (See Step 4.)
Finally, I wean the dog off of all tactile cues and began standing at varied distances while asking for the action.