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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday's Training TIP: Stand

Try as I might, I could not get all these videos processed in time to publish this post yesterday. So, here's a "Tuesday's Training TIP" on Wednesday!

STAND is a helpful command to teach a Future Leader Dog puppy. A standing puppy is easier to groom, and later she'll need to stand for her handler to put on the harness.

I video-taped a training session to demonstrate how I'm teaching FLD Scout to "stand"on command. This particular session lasted just over seven minutes. In the video, FLD Scout is wearing her working bandana and leash.


Step One. WARM UP.

Before any training session it is a good idea to "warm up" your puppy with some things she already knows. (Okay, "might" already know!)

I start working FLD Scout with a heel, sit, stay, and down. As I pass my dog Gypsy I tell Scout to "leave it" when she makes a move toward her, and praise her when she ignores Gypsy.

(I really missed an opportunity to let Scout make up her own mind before telling her what to do.)

Scout needs work on her "sit in a heel position" because she tends to wander out in front of me before sitting. I merely slide her back into the heel position, but to work on correcting this I will practice heeling close to a wall with no room for her to swing out.

At the end of this video, Scout is on her way to a "sit" when I give her the "down" command. Scout came home to us with such a good "sit" that I've had to work on her NOT sitting whenever we stop during a walk on leash! (While puppies are still in the breeder homes they learn to "sit" before getting picked up or eating.)

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Step two.  First attempt with the STAND command.

FLD Scout likes to swing out with her "down" too. Notice that I just slide her right back into the heel position.

When I give her the "stand" command, you can see that she moves a little--a sign that she's thinking about what I want her to do. This is not the very first time she's heard this command. Normally, I would have waited a second or two to see what she would have done, but I wanted to demonstrate the little step forward that will encourage her to get up. 

When I "fake" the first step, Scout sits, so I fake a second step forward to get her to stand. I immediately step back, which causes her to take her more familiar position--the sit!

(I should not have said "nope" under my breath when Scout sits, but putting her into the "stand" is the right thing to do.)

I rub her belly a bit to keep her in the stand position. I think she would have held it after I stand back up myself, but to ensure that she doesn't drop into a sit, I immediately take her into a heel.


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Step three.  STAND from a "sit" and demonstration of leash technique.

FLD Scout's "sit" this time was a little better. (See, repetition helps!) You can see that I wait a moment this time after giving the "stand" command to see if Scout would make a move.

The whining you hear in the background is cc'd Gus from his crate in the other room. This creates enough of a distraction that I have to add a verbal cue to get Scout's attention back to me. She stands with my fake step forward, but sits back down when I praise her (and Andy finally notices that I am working with her).

Again, I merely stand Scout back up. This time I loop her leash around her belly--a technique that can help keep her standing while I straighten back up myself.


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Step four.  STAND, almost!

I treat FLD Scout for looking at me when I say her name because she still needs work with "name recognition." 

This third try at the "stand" command is the first time Scout stands without sitting first! You can see that she started moving and if I had just kept still she probably would have stood without me taking that step. (See where patience comes into play?)

Then, I praise her a bit too enthusiastically and she anticipates me reaching into my pocket to treat her. I place her back into position with a belly rub and immediately have her "stay" to try to reinforce her "stand."


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After this segment, I could tell that FLD Scout was getting a bit overwhelmed. She acted like she forgot how to walk next to me and she flopped onto her side when I asked for a "down." I knew that we needed to end the session on a positive, so I picked up the pace on our walking, had her sit and stay, and threw in a "come," which she readily did, so I gave her the "OK" that released her from working. Lots of praise and fun (while keeping her four feet on the floor) and we were done.


LATER THAT DAY....

I did another session with FLD Scout. We "warmed up" and tried the STAND again. Success!!! It wasn't perfect, but I was more patient and she stood on her own with no cues.

That's what I call PROGRESS.

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HINTS
  • be patient
  • repetition is important
  • work a new command without distractions
  • add distractions as your puppy masters the command

Don't be afraid to try this for yourself. Have fun and you can easily see that even if the trainer isn't "perfect" the puppy can still learn!



2 comments:

  1. I like the "fake" step to move into the stand. I'm used to doing more of a sweep under the stomach into a stand so this is something new to try. What I love about each new puppy is that it's a new opportunity to tweak things just a bit. We already have sights set on puppy number three!

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  2. Way to go, GirlRural! You're hooked--when does puppy #2 go back? You are right about the "tweaking," although I have to admit that I'm a bit more relaxed with each puppy--shhh, don't tell Leader Dogs! :)

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