Teaching the Stand

I teach the stand "hands off". How, depends on the size of the dog. If it's a small pup, I am probably still luring the pup into the sit/stand/down. To do the stand I will be a little off to one side of the pup. Lure it into a sit or down. Then holding the food just in front of its nose, I pull forward (forward from the pups point of view, not mine) just enough to get them shifting their weight onto their front end and up. As soon as their rear end (whether in sit or down) starts to come up, I move the food in a semi-circular motion down and back in towards the pup. This pulls their weight forward so they are coming into the stand, but moving the food down and back in towards the pup stops any forward movement (down makes them arch their back so they keep the stand movement going) so they don't walk into the stand but instead just move their rear end to get there. Takes a little practice, but works well. If the pup does walk into the stand anyway, then I will make them back up a couple steps (just using the lure but pushing it into them) before I reward them. As a side note, understanding how to back up following a lure is something I teach at the same time as the positions, so if I move the lure into them they know to backup to get it.

This is an older dog who has begun the process of
learning both stand and down by moving their rear end

If the dog/pup is bigger, say 6 month Malinois size to adult, I have the dog come sit in front of me, then holding a piece of food in my hand as far down as I can without bending over, I walk into the dog with my legs slightly spread so each foot goes on the outside of their shoulder (my left foot on the outside of their right shoulder and vice versa). There natural reaction to me walking into them is usually to jump up and back. The food being low keeps their head low, which makes it easier for them to move their rear end. This teaches them to move their rear to get into the stand, instead of their front feet. And if there is any movement into the stand of their front end, it's backwards movement. At first I need to apply a fair amount of "presence" pressure (solid step into the dog) to get the dog to stand up, sometimes they don't move their rear end and end up falling over themselves instead. But they figure it out.

Once they have the idea, the pressure just becomes a little movement of the knee instead of a full step into them. And then it just becomes the verbal command. Once they have that, then I can start to put a little space between us, and a little lean or knee movement is usually enough to remind them to pop backwards into the stand instead of stepping forwards. Once the dog has the concept of stand in front of me, then I start changing my position in relation to the dog, standing at various angles to them. If they do not stand, I can still take a step into their space to prompt them to stand. Once they are good with angles then I will move them right next to me and work it. If they get confused because of the new position, usually taking one step backwards while telling them to stand works. In part because I have previously taught the dog how to heel next to me regardless of which direction I am walking, including backwards, using my article on Focus for Heeling.

© 2011 Kadi Thingvall

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