How long did it take your dog to learn a long down stay? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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How long did it take your dog to learn a long down stay?

I'm working on training my dog to hold a long down stay in the back of my car since he has horrible car anxiety (needs to be crated with towels over the crate and still barks and whine and howls whenever I have to take him somewhere). I know that this is going to take some time and that every dog is different, but I'm just curious as to how long it's taken other people and their dogs to get to that 30 min or so long down stay, and how often you worked on the down stay before getting to that point. I would love to work my dog a few times a day, but I work full time and my job is 45 min to an hour away depending on traffic, so I unfortunately don't have the time to work him 3 times a day every day or anything.

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 12:01 PM
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I would probably focus on reducing or hopefully extinguishing the car anxiety before pairing it with a command while he is in a frenzy. How solid is his OB when he is not anxious about something? I'd get OB solid while not anxious, then it becomes tools you can use to control situations.

How often does he go in the car with you?
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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That's what I'm doing to eliminate the car anxiety. Here's how I'm working him right now:
I've been having him sit, then I give him the command to get in the car, then I have him lie down, and then I'll close the door on him for 10 seconds or so, and then open it back up, command him to get out of the car, and then to sit again. These workouts are causing him very little anxiety, as his anxiety doesn't really begin until I'm in the front seat, the car is on, and really especially once the car starts moving. So I'm just very slowly working our way up to all of that so as to reduce the anxiety first. My plan is to get him to be able to hold the down stay in the back with the door closed for a good minute, then start walking around the car to the drivers side, then getting in the drivers seat, then turning on the car... etc. Etc.

His OB is pretty solid when he isn't anxious btw. And I almost never take him anywhere anymore just because the car anxiety is so bad, which is why I've started doing these short, easy training sessions with him. I do these sessions about 4-7 times a week, just depending on how much time I have.

I've been using his reward marker word, treats, praise, and no-reward marker word only for these sessions so far. I only use corrections when I'm 100% sure he knows the command under that particular distraction. So far he hasn't had much anxiety at all because he loves to work. The only time he does is if I leave the car door shut for a little bit too long, but I've only done that a couple times as I am trying to set him up for success and make this process very fun for him and not cause any more anxiety
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Last edited by Tulip; 02-25-2018 at 01:00 PM.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 01:29 PM
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My puppy LOVES car rides, so we didn't work specifically on this. But I work with her on down-stay virtually everywhere. We started working on longevity in the house. I take her to a specific spot, usually a room away from any activity, put her in a down-stay and leave. I then walk back to her periodically and praise and treat her for holding the stay, then leave again. Yesterday she made it for 45 minutes! She's 14 months though, I wouldn't expect a young puppy to stay that long. But I would suggest working on longevity in the house, in the yard, in the park etc. All of these will help with longevity in the car.

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 01:46 PM
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You are pairing obedience with the car. You have a lot of variables and breaking down of steps happening. I don't think anyone that hasn't done this can give you a time period range for success.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 01:53 PM
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Just my opinion, but I don't think any of this will help the puppy get over the anxiety he's feeling when the car is moving... Most puppies get over it in time on their own. To speed that up, I would just take him for short car rides more often...
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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My dog is 5 years old, he isn't a puppy anymore. He used to be fine in the car as a puppy.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not asking for a time period for success, I'm just curious as to how long it's taken other people to teach their dogs long down stays.

And 45 min is impressive, especially for a puppy!

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 02:08 PM
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Nearly every dog that goes through a 6-week basic OB class can master a 3-minute (or even 5-minute) down with distraction by the end of the class. Distraction means other dogs walking close by, or even toys thrown over the dog. That's a typical part of the "graduation test" in novice classes I've been in -- these are pet dog classes, not sport classes. The usual routine is if you have to urge the dog to stay down or it breaks the down, it fails that element.

I've never seen a class test 45 minutes. Maybe some do, but none that I've been in.

Last edited by Magwart; 02-25-2018 at 02:11 PM.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulip View Post
My dog is 5 years old, he isn't a puppy anymore. He used to be fine in the car as a puppy.

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Wow! At what age did he stop liking it? Have you mentioned this to your vet to rule out any physical reason?

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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