Working on sit/stay and down/stay with distractions
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Thread: Working on sit/stay and down/stay with distractions

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    justine's Avatar
    justine is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultWorking on sit/stay and down/stay with distractions

    I'm really trying to kick Abbey's tendency to get out of her sit/stay or down/stay when there is a distraction.

    She does well when I put her in a sit/stay and turn around then make goofy noises and run around. She's also *pretty* good when I have my roommate do it.

    She's pretty good outside, too, but I don't know what the next step would be.. maybe out in public with a bunch of strangers?

    Thanks in advance!

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    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    With stays, there are three variables: Distance, duration and distraction. Each of these should be addressed separately and in small increments - for example, when you very start teaching stays to a puppy, you might first increase the duration without increasing distance and distraction. You would just increase the time you are asking them to stay, while you stay directly in front of them in a low-distraction environment.

    The next step is usually increasing the distance...but when you first do this, it is wise to take a few steps backward and reduce the duration of stay, and also make sure there are few distractions. So you might go five or ten feet away, but only for a few seconds before you return and reward.

    Does that make sense?

    Anyway, as you keep progressing, always keep the 3 D's in mind.

    We are working on out of sight stays at the club now. This involves a three minute sit, five minute down, and we're also adding another three minute sit on the end. So, we've increased the distance about as much as you can, but first we went through many months of doing the three/five/three from across the ring. When I first started going out of sight, it was only for two or three seconds (lowering duration).

    Distractions are the hardest part. The boys are rock-solid on distractions that come from me (as you described with the making noises and dancing around), but you also need to practice distractions that come from other sources. Those are the very hardest thing to master (we're still working on those, and probably will be forever).

    I guess it depends what you're working towards. If it's to be able to go to the park and put your dog in a stay and walk away, practice stays at the park but in very small increments, on leash, as though you were just starting out with stays with a small puppy.

    For each new environment, the behavior has to be practiced again as though it were new. Don't go too fast! If your dog breaks the stay, stay closer next time or don't ask for as long of a stay. Try to keep things on a level that they will be successful. You don't want them to practice breaking stays!

    I have been so proud of Simon and his stays. One of my favorite "Simon stories" is about the time we showed in Huntsville, AL. Simon doesn't like long car trips, and he cried most of the way down We had never gone that far in the car. So we get down there and can't find the place, end up running late, and wouldn't you know it's the one show I've ever been to that was actually running on time.

    I got to the gate and checked in and they told me everyone had already walked the course. Oh good! And then, guess what else: They would like for me to go first as the "honor dog." This was Rally Excellent. Honor dog is part of your run, and it involves a sit or down stay while another dog goes through the course.

    So! I RACE back outside to get Simon, who Kevin had just gotten out of the car to go potty, and remember he has been crying for two hours. We RUN back inside, a totally new environment for him, dogs everywhere, loud noises, typical dog show stuff. We went directly to the ring, where I told him to sit and stay. To my GREAT AMAZEMENT, he did it! I could have hugged him to pieces!

    Of all the shows we've ever done, I have never been so proud of either of them as I was right then!

    Anyway - sorry, I was just thinking about that the other day and your post made me remember it again. Small increments!

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    Distractions for my dogs would be someone throwing a ball near them. Or a squirrel running by.

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    YellowJakesMom is offline Senior Member
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    Connie gave great advice!

    We practice in home depot/lowe's, petsmart, the park, agility class, on the city streets, and while I work with Charlotte (that one I don't know if we'll ever get - he can't really discern when a command is not directed at him LOL).

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy

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    I always like to proof sits/downs with another dog. As Connie was saying, Honor Dog exercises are amazingly powerful in reinforcing that STAY command. I habitually get our intermed dogs to sit, have the owners leave, get Wes on his leash, and calmly walk back and forth behind them. For anyone proofing for the obed ring, that kind of distraction is going to happen ALL THE TIME.

    I've also divided the class in half and had one half sit facing EAST and the other facing WEST, back-to-back. Another common setup in a conf ring, where classes are often doing sits/downs simultaneously.

    I'll also go every-other. Dog ONE does a sit; TWO does a down; ONE does a sit.... and so on. MAKE THEM THINK!!!!

    For people who are competing, I also include bizarro distractions. I remember watching a sit stay go horribly wrong for about 10 participants when a SPECTATOR walked by the ring holding what seemed like 693 folding chairs. Of course, she dropped them RIGHT by the gate!!!!

    And in the clatter-crash-expletive, a bunch of good dogs NQ'ed.

    Kelrobin Cleveland Street Denizen, CGC, RN [Parker]

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    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    [email protected] chairs! That is a sit/stay nightmare for sure.

    A couple of our instructors are very big on proofing for distractions. One of them is fond of bringing out the battery-operated barking/walking dog toy. It's a little dog on a leash who barks and walks. It is very amusing to watch their faces when the little toy goes barking/walking by. LOL

    Another instructor has a favorite thing she does that I'm not crazy about...while the dogs are in a sit or down stay, she comes to each one and tells them to sit (if they're in a down) or vice versa. I don't really love tricking them this way, and it's not something I see ever happening in a trial. They might hear "sit" or "down" from another ring, but no one is going to walk up to them and give them the signal and tell them to do it. (Can you tell this is something the boys have trouble with? ) The other one I don't love is when she tries to lure them with food into a sit from a down. Poor Angus! He actually held the down last time she did it to him. I threw a little party for him.

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    We practice in home depot/lowe's, petsmart
    Whenever I'm at Pet Supply Plus and see the bunnies displayed at lab eye level, I cringe to think of the fiasco if one of my labs were there.

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    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitziandjudysmom View Post
    Whenever I'm at Pet Supply Plus and see the bunnies displayed at lab eye level, I cringe to think of the fiasco if one of my labs were there.
    hahaha! I never thought of that. I will now!

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    We began some "serious" obedience work two weeks ago. We had a guy come to the house and teach us the basics and we were off and running. We have an issue with the dogs (2) being so well bonded. If we are working with one dog and the other is there, distractions are constant. If we separate them, all they want to do is get back together.

    Anyhoo, we made some decent progress the first week with sit/stay and leash walking. So...off to a dock diving event. My hands are still sore from holding Max, who went nuts everytime he heard another dog splash. If he saw the dog hit the water, he was even worse. The good news is he walked like he talked and LOVES to dock dive. I just don't know if I can take it


    Labs: The Natural Antidepressant

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    Henery&Ollie's mom is offline Senior Member
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    Connie gave great advice... at our obedience school we work on duration, then distance, then distraction. If Abbey is doing well at home, I'd work on just having her sit/stay or down/stay in a novel environment, in your hallway (you live in an apt, right?), or outside, and then progress to outside in a park with kids playing at a distance, and then progress incrementally from there. I wouldn't just jump to say outside of a supermarket on a Saturday afternoon.

    You want to set her up so that she's successful!

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