Penny and I are always ready for something new, and I'm wondering about a new training method I saw on a German blog today. It's called 'longieren' in German and my dictionary translates it as "lunge" training.
As I understand it, you put up a circle of stakes and join them with a line of tape that is lower than the dog's height. You start off by walking around the circle with the human inside and the dog outside, on a normal lead. (Maybe a dog like Penny, who's used to working off-lead, wouldn't need the lead). You reward the dog every time she as much as glances at you. So I guess it's like "heel", but they say to use a different command, because of the fact that you are doing special work. The dog is only rewarded if she is outside the ring.
Next, over a series of training sessions, you use a longer, very light lead and you move towards the centre of the circle, thus having the dog further from you. The aim would be to get rid of the lead altogether, as the dog realises rewards only come when she is outside and you are inside.
I'm a bit fuzzy on how the treats get to her. Maybe you throw them?
It looks great for training a dog to work at a distance, something Penny can do well in the kitchen or the training venue, BUT NOT IN THE PARK!!
All the information says it's great for increasing the bond between you and your dog, and for giving exercise at the same time. But it says to be careful not to let the dog over-exert herself, because she will be having lots of fun and might not notice how tired she's getting.
Eventually you could be doing hand-signals for sit, drop, reverse direction of movement, even adding in jumps or whatever your imagination offers.
On one site I read the circle could be between fifteen and thirty metres in diameter, depending on the size of the dog (and, I guess, how much exercise you want them to get in the session).Hmm... could be a problem finding a place to set it up.
I've tried searching the Net for English sites but all I find is stuff about stopping a dog from lunging at people. Maybe there is another English word. I'm certainly going to keep my eyes open for information, because it looks good.