Stays can be a problem area for agility (or any!) dogs. Agility means running as fast as you can, which dogs love! That little bit of staying required at the start line (if you do a lead out) and on the pause table dampens many dogs enthusiasm. It feels like an end to fun!
How can you take the stink out of staying? If your dog absolutely loathes staying, start all over again, with a whole new word and a whole new approach!
- Start slow Stay for one second… two seconds… threeeeee…. Slowly build up the length of time your dog has to stay still. Start close to your dog, and slowly build up distance as well as time.
- Reward Make certain you reward the stay. Make it awesome. Make it amazing. I have found three chunks, one after the other, of freeze dried liver makes Quick consider staying to not be torture. Or, at least, worth trying to stay.
- Repeat Practice in varying lengths of time, various distances, but never exhaust your dog. This is something I would be careful not to ‘drill’ too much.
- Release This is something that you can work on at the same time as the stay! Release words should be powerful and evoke a response from your dog – they don’t have to do what they were doing, they should do what you say to do next, or just be free! I use ‘okay!’.
Stays are an important part of dog training, and useful beyond just the agility field. Working with your dog to make them fun is a big challenge, but the end result is totally worth it. Do you have any tips to share? or just funny times your dog broke (or held!) their stay?