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Discussion Starter #1
I have been trying to teach champ to down and stay until I release him. He does well until I'm about 50 feet away from him or he loses sight of me.

I have always been impressed with people that can have their dog down and stay in front of a store while they go in and it never moves. I would be scared to leave my dog like that but I want that level of obedience.
I would also like to add that champ is thirteen months old . Is he to young to expect him to stay while out of sight ?
Thank you for any advice. While I don't post much I have read this forum daily since I've had champ and I feel it's helped me make champ the wonderful dog he is.


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I don't think 13 months is too young, 13 weeks yes :) I taught my Sting by having him on the down/stay in the breezeway which opens out to the backyard. I would combine it with his fetch/tug game. I walk out with the tugs and one hand up, when I lower my hand, he comes charging at the tugs. At first, I was in sight - then I moved a little bit out of his sight, but came back where he could see me with my hand still raised and if he charged too soon, he would have to go back inside on the down/stay. I don't do it long nor would I leave him unattended. I just use it for a training exercise.
 

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No thirteen months is not too young, I have Penny doing it and she is almost 8 months and the doberman in her Advance OB class is a year old, the rottie X shepherd is 10 months and the other pure GSD is 9 months, so all around the same age and are all staying in sit or down while owner is out of sight, with distractions. (Penny has her days where she likes to break it though lol)

If you can get a good distance away and he stays thats good, build up your time to about 5 mins. that he is in the stay and go back and treat/reward/release. Next to get him to stay with you out of sight you will need someone to help you, put him in a down or sit stay and walk away and have the other person (dog should be on a long line to teach this or any kind of distance stay for correction purposes) stay with the dog if he moves he gets corrected and put back in the same spot, keep doing this, soon he will get that even with you out of sight he needs to stay. :)
 

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How have you trained the stay? Have you worked on distance, duration, and distraction separately, and gradually increased the difficulty of each?

When I started teaching an out of sight stay it was indoors (low distraction), I walked the length of the room (fairly close distance), and I ducked out of sight around a corner very briefly (short duration), before returning to reward in place. And that was only after I'd worked on short duration but longer distance stays, and short distance but longer duration stay, both indoors with few distractions.

It may be that you're just expecting too much too soon, without sufficiently training each step incrementally.
 

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One of the most important points Debbie makes, IMO, is to reward the dog in place. I started our down/stay in the living room, eventually moving around a corner. Start slowly and move around a corner very briefly, then I would always reward in place. If you let the dog break the position to reward, they will anticipate the break and it will be harder to enforce.

To ensure Liesl gets rewarded in place, when she even starts coming up to get the treat from my hand (still a common occurance :) ) I will freeze and be quiet. When she goes back into her down (elbows and rump on the ground) I will hold my hand under her nose for a fraction of a second, and THEN reward her. I just want to make it very clear she has to maintain the down to be rewarded.

Take care to prevent rehearsing the pup breaking the down position. Again, don't go beyond the point the pup can handle. If you want to push it, have a friend stay close to the dog with the leash, and gently remind them to down if they start to break the position.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you guys for your replies. Kingsj thank you, now I know exactly what the problem is. I always rewarded when he came to me after the down/stay and he was always anticipating the release and treat. Seems so simple now , I don't know why I didn't look at it that way.


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One of the most important points Debbie makes, IMO, is to reward the dog in place. I started our down/stay in the living room, eventually moving around a corner. Start slowly and move around a corner very briefly, then I would always reward in place. If you let the dog break the position to reward, they will anticipate the break and it will be harder to enforce.
I always rewarded when he came to me after the down/stay and he was always anticipating the release and treat. Seems so simple now, I don't know why I didn't look at it that way.
Exactly! I return frequently to give a treat when I'm working on stay - all rewards happen when the dog remains in place, not after the dog is released. That way there's no confusion about what behavior is being rewarded.
 

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