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Zoe used to display reluctance on the downs also. I couldn't understand why she'd do it fine at home but was refusing in class. Once a dog learns something like "down' in a familiar place , there's further learning they have to do to transfer that skill in other settings. Down is a very submissive position and if the dog feels uncomfortable or threatened it won't want to down. I've also noticed that certain surfaces . . . rubber matting or places where a lot of dogs have been may cause reluctance. Just keep practicing it in lots of different places.
The technique in the video with the dog putting it's front paws on a book or pot and learning to move it's rear around is one I've seen in other videos and I guess lots of people use it. It does seem to encourage precision. We've just used an in formal version of the smaller and smaller arc.
I tried the pivot thing using an large thick paperback catalog covered with duct tape. It didn't move around but Zoe wasn't interested in putting her feet on it.
Sunfire's Amazing Grace, CGC, CCA, Pet Partner therapy dog, 9/12/2013 Zoe
, Rockwall Nantucket Breeze, BN, CGC, Delta therapy dog, 5/4/2008 - 10/28/2013 Zeke
, our introduction to the world of Golden Retrievers, 6/12/1997 - 12/18/2007