Here are two musical canine freestyle routines where Sydney does a skipping move. These were videotaped in October 2009.
Teaching a dog to skip is achievable if each step is thoroughly taught before trying to go on to the next one.
A number of people have asked how I taught Sydney to skip. Skipping is a complex action, and it took me a bit of time to figure out how to go about teaching it.
I initially taught Sydney to skip for a mini-movie I was scripting. For this, I would be out of frame and it was to appear that she was skipping on her own. However, when I decided to do a second brace freestyle routine, I thought the skip move would work well in the choreography.
Since Sydney's skipping was so pretty, I put her in the "front" position in the routines so the focus of attention would be on her skipping and would not be obscured by my body.
Step 2. Once Sydney was comfortable limping on both front feet, I stood in front of her with a target stick in either hand, alternatively touched the side of each leg as I backed away. The target stick reminded Sydney what action she was to take with each leg as she moved forward. (See: Body Targeting)
The target sticks allowed me to set a rhythm that showed Sydney's skip to its best advantage.
Step 3. I used the target sticks until it was clear that Sydney understood the movement of skipping. Then, the motion of what my hands were doing when using the sticks became the cue for Sydney to skip. (See below)
Step 1. I first taught Sydney to "limp" on either front foot. See "Teaching Limp" This is the most difficult part of training the skip . . . teaching the dog to limp for a distance holding up one front foot.
Some dogs seem to learn to limp quite quickly. Mine didn't. It took months before they would limp more than just a few steps on one foot. Once they limped well on one front foot, it did not take nearly as long to get them to limp on the other foot as well.