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Discussion Starter #1
Melanie gave me the go-ahead to post this challenge. Challenge #4 is geared toward the novice, those with young dogs, and those who just want to brush up on the basic commands. There are two parts to this challenge since they do go hand-in-hand. Your dog must know what "sit" and "down" mean (whatever language is used).

Challenge Part One: Can you put your dog in a sit or a down, leave the room, and come back to your dog still sitting or holding a down? How long? Your first challenge is to work up to being able to leave your dog in a sit or a down out of sight (in a SAFE environment) for an age-appropriate length of time. I'm starting light and will be working towards 60 seconds but Renji has had a lot of work with this already. Can you do ten seconds? 30 seconds? Three minutes?

Challenge Part Two: So your dog can sit and down and stay there until you give your release command. But will your dog hold a sit or down while you do jumping jacks? Walk over her back? Walk all the way around him to the left and to the right? Jog in place? Clap your hands? What about sit down on the floor and stand back up? A lot of dogs have problems holding a sit and down while their owners jump around and dance and do things that look fun. Work up to doing a myriad of activities while your dog holds position.

Both of these activities will firm up your dog's basic obedience and will be VERY helpful if you decide to go for a CGC or a rally or OB title. Even if you don't do any of these, they will make your dog a lot easier to live with and the training also will help drain your dog's energy. So arm yourself with treats or toys, a clicker or your voice, set a small goal, and go for it! Remember to start with small baby steps- in the first challenge, just being able disappear around the corner for a half-second with your dog holding position is a success and for the second challenge, being able to walk from the front of your dog to its side and back with the dog holding position also is something to be rewarded.


My Part One goal is to reach one minute and go from there. My Part Two goal is to be able to bang on pots and pans and do a silly dance while my dog holds. He HATES pots and pans banging.
 

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Quote: be able to bang on pots and pans and do a silly dance while my dog holds
Diane, in our advanced classes we do proofing exercises every week while working on holding sits and downs. We have used everything from the obvious (tennis balls, squeaky toys, dropped food) to creative (walking around each dog with a mop and bucket, rattleing chains, kids push toys that make noises, etc.)

We also (besides jumping up and down) quickly kneel and put our arms out to the sides (typical 'here puppy gesture,) make kissy sounds, clap our hands, etc.)

I love proofing exercises.

Reminder to everyone - add seconds, or add distance but never do both at the same time. Baby steps so your dog is successful.

Thanks, Diane. I like this one a lot.
 

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This is a good one even if you have a dog that knows the stay - it's easy for people to become lax on the stays and they really are very important exercises.

If someone has a dog that's really great on the stays and wants to try something harder, lay down on the floor and call your dog to you - give the "sit" and the "stay" command while you're laying on the floor. You might be surprised at how hard it is for your dog to respond to commands when you're flat on your back.

Another more difficult proofing exercise is to have one dog on a stay while you practice recalls with another dog - or even ask the second dog to do a recall that makes them jump over the dog that's in a down-stay (something we used to do in classes back in the 80's and early 90's).

For now, though, I'm going to work on little busybody Tazer and see if we can get a basic out-of-sight stay. She has the basics down but I haven't actually worked on the out-of-sight part. So this will be good for her. I'll probably do it with Khana, too, since we're working on open exercises and we don't do enough stays.

Trick and Dora, at nearly 13 and 12 years respectively, don't have to do much anymore! *L*

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Quote:Another more difficult proofing exercise is to have one dog on a stay while you practice recalls with another dog
The most DIFFICULT thing in the world for Renji is keeping still while other dogs are moving, and when they're running, forget it!
We really need to go back to training classes. It's just been too cold.


Quote:We also (besides jumping up and down) quickly kneel and put our arms out to the sides (typical 'here puppy gesture,) make kissy sounds, clap our hands, etc.)
Good one! Once your dog's getting really solid, creativity is key in forming new situations to proof against.
 

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Ris is already good at #1 and #2.
I often leave her in a sit/stay in another room while we play the 'Find it' game. And I think it's really fun to goof off around her while she's holding a stay. In fact, I've put her in stand/stays and jumped over her back like a hurdle and she doesn't break.

The laying on my back and asking her for a sit. . .that she might not do. If I'm sitting on the floor, yes. But laying down, I dunno. I'll have to try it.
 

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Quote:We also (besides jumping up and down) quickly kneel and put our arms out to the sides (typical 'here puppy gesture,) make kissy sounds, clap our hands, etc.)
Personally, I would never do this to my dog. First, you tell the dog to stay, then you tell the dog to come to you, and then "correct" the dog for not staying? IMHO, that's unfair and setting your dog up for a lot of confusion and failure. I can see someone ELSE doing the gesturing/kissy noises but not the handler.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Anyone working on this today? I did some of this yesterday. I know Renji can hold a lot longer but we're starting small to bolster our foundation. I was able to keep him in a down and a sit and walk over him, around him, do jumping jacks, jog, knock on wood (heh), and smack tables without him breaking. We also did five second successful out of sights. We have done higher, but again, strengthening that foundation.

Let's hear your progress.
 

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I practiced tonight with all four dogs after they'd had dinner (I know, most people work their dogs BEFORE they feed them, but mine are such chow hounds (pun intended) that it doesn't seem to matter). I was only going to work with Tazer, first, but they all seemed eager to do something.

So I put them all on a down-stay and then I walked away and out of sight behind some stuff in the shop (walking toward the door into the living quarters, which is very tempting for them). ALL stayed beautifully at first, and I went back and rewarded after about 10 seconds out of sight (didn't want to push it too long with Tazer, since she's not done out of sight stays).

The second time they all held it too even when I knocked on the door of the living quarters (and no one even barked!), but I let Trick and Dora (the old dogs) get up after that as they were laying on cold concrete. I did two more longer out of sight stays for Tazer and Khana and they did very well. Khana is pretty darn solid on her stays, and Tazer is good at following Khana's lead. It's pretty funny how the GSDs and the chows learn from each other - I see traits in Tazer that are chow-like, and traits in Khana that are shepherd-like.

We'll work on this some more - I would like Tazer to have a very solid stay. Sit will be more difficult, I think. Tazer just came into heat, too, and Khana is still in heat so I'm watching to see if we have any hormonal changes that make things weird for them (so far nothing).

Melanie and the gang
 

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Quote: Challenge Part One: Can you put your dog in a sit or a down, leave the room, and come back to your dog still sitting or holding a down? How long? Your first challenge is to work up to being able to leave your dog in a sit or a down out of sight (in a SAFE environment) for an age-appropriate length of time. I'm starting light and will be working towards 60 seconds but Renji has had a lot of work with this already. Can you do ten seconds? 30 seconds? Three minutes?
Mandi does not like this and so far we have not been able to make it at all. She will wait for about 3 seconds before she gets up to see where I went. We'll keep working on it.

Quote:
Challenge Part Two: So your dog can sit and down and stay there until you give your release command. But will your dog hold a sit or down while you do jumping jacks? Walk over her back? Walk all the way around him to the left and to the right? Jog in place? Clap your hands? What about sit down on the floor and stand back up? A lot of dogs have problems holding a sit and down while their owners jump around and dance and do things that look fun. Work up to doing a myriad of activities while your dog holds position.
Now this is something Mandi can do. A few months ago I started making her wait to eat. Since she loves to eat, she picked up on this quickly. She has to sit while one of us puts the bowl down and then she has to wait to be told she can eat. While she is sitting there waiting I dance (the Eileen dance from Seinfeld sometimes). I pet her head. I bunny hop. I look around and whistle. I yawn. She learned that she has to endure this torture sitting down or else we will pick up her food bowl and walk away with it.

I know she'll stay in a down while I walk around and over her as she learned this in training when I would return to her while she was in a down stay.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Quote:Tazer just came into heat, too, and Khana is still in heat so I'm watching to see if we have any hormonal changes that make things weird for them (so far nothing).
Great distraction to work through!

Quote:Mandi does not like this and so far we have not been able to make it at all. She will wait for about 3 seconds before she gets up to see where I went. We'll keep working on it.
Start smaller! Just disappear around the corner and reappear in less than a second and reward for that. When Mandi consistently holds for that, then disappear for one second (one-one-thousand) and reappear, reward for that. Stay at that point for several sessions. This is one exercise where you don't want to rush and a very solid foundation will be key when you're ready for the longer out of sight exercises. This is a tough one for our velcro dogs that always want to keep an eye on us!
Good job on the second part, though.
 

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Sleachy, maybe you would not do this because you think we are giving corrections. This is a new behavior - we never correct while working on new behaviors. And certainly I would never set a dog up for failure or to be corrected for any reason - that would defeat the reasoning behind my positive training style.

Quote: then you tell the dog to come to you
Kissy sounds and clapping are not commands to come.

There is a huge difference between a command and a non-related movement or noise. Our dogs have the basic stay command well learned before we do this. If the dog breaks the stay because we clap hands or make a kissy sound, we just go back and start again. On average it takes the dog 3 tries to learn stay means stay.

Then we either return to dog by walking around behind the dog to heel position, or we give the come command. Then they are greatly praised and rewarded.

I practice this with both dogs together and they know when I release one, the other continues to stay, no matter what they hear, until they to are released.

Proofing excercises need to be as creative and increasingly difficult as possible. They could save a dog's life sometime.
 

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Originally Posted By: DianaMChallenge Part One: Can you put your dog in a sit or a down, leave the room, and come back to your dog still sitting or holding a down? How long? Your first challenge is to work up to being able to leave your dog in a sit or a down out of sight (in a SAFE environment) for an age-appropriate length of time. I'm starting light and will be working towards 60 seconds but Renji has had a lot of work with this already. Can you do ten seconds? 30 seconds? Three minutes?

Challenge Part Two: So your dog can sit and down and stay there until you give your release command. But will your dog hold a sit or down while you do jumping jacks? Walk over her back? Walk all the way around him to the left and to the right? Jog in place? Clap your hands? What about sit down on the floor and stand back up? A lot of dogs have problems holding a sit and down while their owners jump around and dance and do things that look fun. Work up to doing a myriad of activities while your dog holds position.
Yes! I don't know how long he'll stay there because we haven't tested that. But he'll hold a down with his food bowl right under his nose while I go in the house to refill his water dish or feed the kitties. I know he'd stay for several minutes at least, but I don't plan on competing in obedience so I'm not working towards any specific time goal.

Part 2 is a resounding yes! The Protocol for Relaxation that I did with Keefer had him remain in a down while I walked around him, clapped my hands, sang loudly, ran in place, jogged around him, went out of sight and knocked on the wall, went to the front door, opened it and and rang the bell, went out of sight and pretended to have a conversation with someone, all sorts of things. Because it starts out really easy and then gradually builds up to more challenging exercises over a 15 day period it's a great way to add distractions to proof a stay. It's not about staying per se, it's about learning to relax no matter what's going on around him, that those things don't have anything to do with him, and that he doesn't need to react to them, the reliable stay is just a side benefit.
 

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We practiced the sit-stay tonight, and I just had Khana and Tazer. Khana, as usual, was little miss "solid-stay" and she doesn't even get restless in a stay. Tazer started to get up when I walked away and I re-sat her, gave a more definite "stay" command and then went out of sight briefly. By the third time, I was able to stay out of sight for nearly 30 seconds before I came back and rewarded.

Trick and Dora were allowed to wander around, which does make the stay harder for those having to stay. Funny thing is, every time I said "Stay!" Dora ran to her kennel and stayed in it until I released the other dogs.

Tazer will pick this up well. She's a pretty responsive girl and I'm starting to see some maturity in her (finally!). Khana has been middle-aged since she was a puppy, mentally-wise, and has always had a good work ethic.

Melanie and the gang
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Today I went outside with Renji for a training session and I had him sit and down while I jumped up and down from a picnic table. No problems there, so I proceeded to lay down on the ground. When I got up, he broke the down but I gave him a small correction and replaced him into position. Then I tried again and he stayed! Click + treat. I then lay flat on the ground again after downing him and gave Renji commands to sit and then down again and he did those successfully.


He had problems with staying in position while I stood still and suddenly burst into a run at him, but this time he stayed with only a small flinch.
That's another toughie for dogs to work through.

Quote:
Trick and Dora were allowed to wander around, which does make the stay harder for those having to stay.
Great distraction to work through! I think this is a great idea so if a dog breaks the group stay, yours won't be tempted to join.


Quote:The Protocol for Relaxation that I did with Keefer had him remain in a down while I walked around him, clapped my hands, sang loudly, ran in place, jogged around him, went out of sight and knocked on the wall, went to the front door, opened it and and rang the bell, went out of sight and pretended to have a conversation with someone, all sorts of things.
Boy did I ever slack on that. I'm getting back into it though. My ultimate goal is having Renji stay calm during a ringing doorbell. As it is right now, every time a doorbell rings it's like a trumpeting Tyrannosaur is let loose in the house.
 

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Diana, I went through the whole RP with Keefer and he did great, but I really want to do it again, in a variety of locations, as she suggests. By the time I worked up to the day with the doorbell he was relaxed enough that he was able to hang out for that task. I think I only repeated one whole day, but there were several days where I repeated a task a few times before moving on to the next one. For things that I KNEW would be very challenging, like the doorbell, I broke them down even further into multiple steps before even attempting it. He already had a good stay, but this really cemented it. And Dena's stay was even better, but she was the official greeter, and got very excited when company was over, so I knew that the doorbell would be much harder for her, and it was - it was the only thing she had any trouble with at all. She aced everything else, but we had to work at that one a bit. She even stayed on the mat when Elvis sauntered into the room, that was a hard one for Keefer, so it's a good distraction to work on with him.

But I won't be doing much with Keef for awhile now that I'll be training Halo. She starts puppy class on the 7th. It's hard enough with a new puppy to get enough sleep, much less keep the house clean, cook meals, and get any exercise without having to train another dog too! Maybe once she's housebroken and doesn't need so much time and attention I'll try to get back to RP with Keefer. I know other people manage to train multiple dogs at once, but my hat is off them, I don't know how they find the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Debbie, I think a great training exercise would be having Keefer hold a sit or down while you work on a few brief commands with the pup. Now THAT is distraction!

You've done a wonderful job with your dogs so I wouldn't worry. You always manage to have GSD ambassadors and I know Halo will be the same.
 

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I wish I could get Risa to not bark her fool head off just when our neighbors come home. People knocking at the door. . .forget it. *SIGH*

I've been slacking on these challenges. Not because we're not training. We are! I just don't have enough time in the day to work on dog reactivity, freestyle training/moves, and the monthly training challenge on another board.

I wish training my dog were my full time job!
 

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Quote:I wish I could get Risa to not bark her fool head off just when our neighbors come home.
Renji's a card-carrying member of the same club Risa is with, I see.


Yes we haven't done much with the tick tock challenge lately. Our main things are working around other dogs, hardening up the basics, and schutzhund style heeling, and of course agility handling. I wish I didn't have to work, either!
 

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We worked on this some more today, and Renji only broke once, but he did very well with me running up and stomping up the stairs while DF was watching.


I also had Renji sit and down on the first "landing" of stairs while I stayed at the first floor and I bounced and jumped up and down on his squeaky toy and he stayed.


Really cool thing: when I sent him up the stairs, a couple times he'd double back and start coming down quickly. I was able to halt him and then BACK HIM UP the stairs! He has really good footwork! He even downed with his butt on the landing and his front on a step. Pretty funny.
 
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