Exercise 4:1- Chin Rest to prop with Exam
The dog performs a chin rest to an appropriately sized external prop (one that allows the spine & neck to be in a comfortable position) while in a standing position and the handler does an exam. The handler will lightly but firmly run their hands down the neck and back, over the hips, down all 4 legs, and along the abdomen. The exercise ends when the exam is complete.
The exercise starts when the dog’s head is steady and the handler begins the external exam.
Purpose: The chin rest is used to steady the dog in place so an external exam can be completed. This exercise builds on all the prior levels of chin rest work. If the dog voluntarily maintains this position, it is indicative of the dog’s comfort level with the exam.
Equipment: Treats and a stable prop for the dog to perform a chin rest on.
Exercise set-up: The handler can be sitting on a chair or other piece of furniture, or standing. With smaller dogs you may sit on the floor or a low stool. With larger dogs it may be easier to stand. This exercise may be completed with dogs on an elevated surface such as a grooming table.
Scoring: To pass this exercise the dog should continually rest his chin to the external prop for the duration of the exam. Each part of the exam must be completed and clearly shown.
Non-qualifiers: The dog repeatedly moves his head off of the prop during the exam. The dog is leaning or pulling away from the handler during the exam. The handler has to repeatedly cue the dog to stay in place. The handler does not run their hands over each body part outlined above.
Tips: Develop a strong foundational chin rest before attempting to start adding in an exam. Build each part of the exam separately before starting to sequence them into a complete exam.
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