This clip is from our movie "Paws to Dance" . Two Standard Poodles perform a choreographed routine which was shot in sequences.
At the end of the "dance", on the cue "Wheel", Jyah immediately begins turning to his right atop the platform and Sydney begins backing around the platform. Jyah continues turning until Sydney has completed two backward circles around the platform.
Below is how I taught the "WHEEL" cue.
Foundation behaviors already trained:
I was teaching Jyah his part separately at the same time I was teaching Sydney hers. Here is a picture of Jyah spinning on a small target mat. This was a behavior I had already taught him with the cue word "spin." (Prior to beginning this training, Jyah had been taught to do different actions on his "mark.")
This was a fairly simple action to teach, but did take several weeks to get smoothly on cue.
In context to the platform, I cued Sydney to "back" as I walked toward her, touching her right hip with the target stick which made her curve to her right(targeting her hip to the stick) around the platform as we walked. At first, I clicked and rewarded after just a couple of steps. I would began again at the point I had stopped, going around a few more steps, c/ting. I would continue this round and round the platform throughout a short training session.
At this point, I could stand away from the platform, have Sydney standing next to the platform facing me, and cue her to "wheel" and she would back all the way around the platform as I gave her the intermediate bridge (which told her that she was doing the correct move and to continue doing it). The next step was to have her go around twice before clicking and treating. Two times around was my goal for this move.
I had Jyah jump up on the platform and gave him the cue "spin." When he started turning, I clicked and rewarded. Over a period of a several days, I had him turn more and more circles before clicking and rewarding. As soon as I saw that he knew what I wanted, I changed the cue to "wheel" and used it as soon as he jumped up on the platform. I wanted him to understand the cue word was in context to the platform. I also made sure my body cue was the same as the one I used when I taught Sydney her version of "wheel."
In subsequent sessions I would gradually stop and let Sydney continue a step or two as I gave her the intermediate bridge before clicking/treating.
Once both dogs knew their parts, and since they had both been trained to respond to the same cue ("wheel"), it was a simple matter of putting them together and giving the cue "Wheel." I then gave them an intermediate bridge until they had completed the action to my satisfaction.