Pivot Bowl Next Step: Movement!

January 21, 2023

You’ve spent some time teaching your dog the value of the pivot bowl and your dog understands how to stay on it.  (If you missed this blog on introducing the pivot bowl, be sure to check it out!)  Next, we’ll focus on movement!


Teaching Movement on the Pivot Bowl in Front


After your dog has learned duration on the pivot bowl and understands to keep his or her feet on it, then we start to teach the dog to offer movement.  You can start by facing the dog and moving sideways.  Click any rear end movement the dog gives you.  When you feed in position on the bowl, put the food in the side of your dog’s mouth so the dog continues to turn in order to get the food.


Here’s a great example from my friend Ann and her puppy Dare.  This was Dare just starting movement on the bowl.



Here’s a video of Strive as a puppy.  You can see how I’m feeding her to encourage more movement.  This is the combination of several training sessions.



Moving Toward Heel Position


Once your dog realizes that movement is rewarding, you can start to incorporate it into heel position.  This is one of Excel’s first times with movement on the bowl.  I started off doing some stuff in heel, but I realized that he wasn’t quite ready, so I moved to the front and rewarded some movement from that position.  You can see that I was even getting some tiny shuffles from him without any movement on my part!



When I went back to heel position after doing some rewarding in the front, it really freed up his movement.  Do you see how I use the movement of my body to encourage him to move?


I used a bit of a pocket hand to teach him how to move his butt around.  See how I tipped his head out slightly with my hand?  This will often cause the butt to come in.  Notice in the beginning I click the tiniest bit of movement.  This video is a few years old and it really makes me realize how far my training has come in the last few years!  My mechanics were not nearly as clean back then as they are now!  🙂


Here is session two on the bowl:



Look at how much more fluent his movement is!  Notice that I am rewarding so that his head tips out and his butt moves in.  I am working towards that final picture of him pivoting into me.


In this video we’ve moved towards pivoting in heel.



Take your time with teaching a really solid left pivot on the bowl, making sure the dog understands to come into heel straight.  If your pivot on the bowl is solid, you’ll be much more prepared to get the left pivot without the bowl!

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