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Old 03-29-2008, 08:33 PM
Suzzie Suzzie is offline
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Default STAY for separation anxiety dog

Popper (beagle red heeler mix) is going to (hopefully) start agility in June, after he has a little interview with the instructors to determine if he can start or if he needs more obedience (he's had several classes and does flyball now).

But I know in agility, they have to have a good stay. His sucks. Part of it, I'm sure, is that he has separation anxiety. Not the chew through the walls kind - the sit at the door and whine and cry for a couple hours. He is always in front of the only exit in the room, and if there are multiple exits, by my side or on my feet. It's compounded by the fact that I work from home. Even at dog parks, it's a lot of work to get him out with other dogs. I know he likes them; I used to take him to doggie daycare and apparently he was quite the rambunctious pooch. Eventually he loosens up, but doesn't venture too far away even then. He is my shadow. If there was a circle of fire in between Popper and I, he would not hesitate to walk across it to get to me.

I've been trying stays by holding up a treat (he knows Look At Me) and backing away, even just a foot. That's all the farther I can get. If I try any farther, he does not hesitate to break the stay and plop down at my feet again. I've tried telling him no and resetting him, I've tried doing nothing and resetting him, I'm kind of at a loss. It wasn't important for him to stay AWAY from me before so I admit I did not work overly hard on it (we don't really ever use stay at our house... wait, but not stay), but for the past few weeks I am trying to get more distance and it's just not happening. I'd be happy with a ten second stay at this point. He's plenty smart, he just doesn't see the benefit of being left at a distance.

Is there another way that I can do it? Maybe with my fiance helping? Suggestions welcomed. He is very praise motivated, much more so that food.
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Old 03-29-2008, 09:32 PM
lizzybeth727's Avatar
lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Central Texas
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First of all, what's the difference between your wait and stay?

Second, many agility dogs aren't good at stay (most are very energetic and excited to run, which makes it very difficult to train this type of dog to stay). Many people just do "running starts" - their dogs and themselves both start running the course at the same time. Of course it's easier if you can do a stay so that you can "lead out" and don't have to run so fast to keep up with your dog, but it's certainly possible to be successful in agility without a stay.

If you want to teach stay, though, it's best to start by teaching your dog to hold a position for a period of time. This means he's, say, sitting, and neither of you move until you release him. You can give him treats every couple of seconds for not moving, but I'd stop holding the treat up at him, this might be distracting. Praise might also work as well, but since you say he's so praise motivated, it might just make him too excited and want even harder to get to you. Once he will stay this way for about 10-20 seconds, then you can start moving away.

Notice I said "moving," not "walking." Many dogs, especially small dogs, get very distracted when we start walking. I think small dogs are more intuned with our small body movements than big dogs are. So instead of starting by taking a step away from your dog, just lean away from him. Even if you only move your shoulders an inch or two, that's good progress. Lean away, then immediately lean back, and give your dog a treat. Then try again. Continue leaning a little farther and a little farther, until you're actually taking weight off one foot. As long as your dog is successful, then you can lift a foot - start by lifting it only an inch or less, then work up to a couple of inches. Then start stepping, just an inch or so at a time away from your dog. And so on.

The point is, you'll have to make extremely small movements, with extremely small improvements as you go. And the whole time, remember to release your dog after 10-20 seconds, otherwise he will break the stay because your duration is too long. And correcting him after he breaks the stay is probably not going to do a whole lot of good.

Meanwhile, I'd also suggest ignoring your dog anytime he's "shadowing" you. I know this will be hard, but just act like you don't even see him. If he wanders away, even just a few feet, you can toss treats to him or even call him to you and give him attention then.
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Old 04-03-2008, 03:52 PM
tobilove23 tobilove23 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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i found a website on dog training click on my signature that website might help not sure give it a try
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