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Level 3

Working with the Ultimate Companion

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L3-STAY - A Reliable Stay

Level 3 Games and Cues

L3-STAY - GAMES

Paws On Duration

Confidence, Focus, Arousal Up/Down, Engagement, Disengagement, Proximity, Impulse Control, Tolerance of Frustration (Relationship)

Premack Testing 1, 2, 3

Confidence, Focus, Arousal Up, Engagement, Impulse Control, Thinking in Arousal, Relaibility (Relationship)

Premack Reliability

Confidence, Focus, Arousal Up, Engagement, Impulse Control, Thinking in Arousal, Relaibility (Relationship)

Bonus: The Line Up

Demonstration on how Premack naturally creates the stay behavior without actually using the cue.

L3-STAY - TOPICS

Tips for a Reliable Stay

L3-NRG - CUES

Stay Part 1

Focus, Impulse Control

Stay Part 2

Confidence, Focus, Impulse Control


Stay Part 3

Confidence, Focus, Impulse Control, Reliability

L3-STAY TOPICS


Tips for a Reliable Stay

Stay is one of the cues that most dog owners feel they need to teach. It is one of the staple cues taught in obdeince classes. But the truth of the matter is in reality, I rarely use stay. Additionally, if you teach a Premack cue from a position like a sit or a down, you already have a stay.

PREMACK 1 and PREMACK 2 ARE PREREQUISITES BEFORE TEACHING STAY.

Stay is only as reliable as the release! So your dog must have a good concpetual understanding of your relase cue before you begin teaching a stay. Otherwise, the behavior will begin to fall apart when you get to the next levels of the cue. Mistakes are not part of the process with learning this cue correctly. In order to minimize mistakes, the behavior with the release must be built first.

PATIENCE AND STILLNESS ARE CRITICAL TO SUCCESS!

The very reason I don’t not teach stay early is because puppies have a tough time being still and patient. Focus and attention span are short live. Plus, they can be very inconsistent from day to day which makes reliability difficult. This is why I have you play the Paws On Duration Game first. I’d much rather have a dog mess up a paws on than a stay cue. Furthermore, paws on gives your puppy a concrete “anchor” to help maintain a spot for the stay cue. That helps tremendously when you begin working different aspects of the cue.

GERNERALIZING THE BEHAVIOR TAKES TIME

Once you begin working different aspects of the cue, you will begin taking the cue out and about and working through distractions. Use your leash to help you. One mistake means you go “back to kindergarten” and proof the behavior at an easier level before moving forward again.

L3-STAY GAME

Paws On Duration

CONFIDENCE, FOCUS, AROUSAL UP/DOWN, DISENGAGEMENT, ENGAGEMENT, PROXIMITY, IMPULSE CONTROL, TOLERANCE OF FRUSTRATION (RELATIONSHIP)

Begin building duration with the front paws on an object. Build skill with focus, patience, stillness, Premack... all concepts that are required for behaviors like Stay, which we will work on in the future when your dog has mastered this game.

This builds a number of important skills and concepts: 

  • holding a position and not anticipating another behavior
  • stillness
  • tolerance of frustration
  • patience
  • focus
  • Premack
  • prerequisite behavior for success with stay (and works a concrete concept for the "spot")

In this stage you also can work good posture and back foot placement.

Premack Testing 1, 2, 3...

CONFIDENCE, FOCUS, AROUSAL UP, ENGAGEMENT, IMPULSE CONTROL, TOLERANCE OF FRUSTRATION, THINKING IN AROUSAL, RELIABILITY (RECALL, WALKING WITH MANNERS, RELATIONSHIP)

Testing the Premack cue… This is easily part of working distractions and focus through the stay. Make this part of your first steps with your movement when introducing beginning levels of distractions with your body with the stay cue. Instead of from a boundary, you will cue a position (sit, down) and then play the game.

Is your dog truly listening to what you are saying? Can your dog differentiate between nonsense words and actual cued behavior? Does the tone or inflection in your voice make a difference? Does body movement prompt your dog to go before the Premack cue is given? If you run forward, does that prompt your dog to break?

These videos show you two more games to play to test the reliability of your Premack cues before taking them to the next level. This game also supports your boundary training efforts.

It also shows you how to start working some arousal levels with using toys.

A bigger challenge - combining both games…

If you are beginning to work on stay, Premack and its reliability is very important, as Stay requires a release. But, for your Premack games, work with a boundary so that you create difference in the Premack games and any mistakes made, and a separate picture with Stay for your dog, where you don’t want any mistakes.

Have fun!!

Premack Reliability

CONFIDENCE, FOCUS, AROUSAL UP, ENGAGEMENT, IMPULSE CONTROL, TOLERANCE OF FRUSTRATION, THINKING IN AROUSAL, RELIABILITY (RECALL, WALKING WITH MANNERS, RELATIONSHIP)

Now it is time to take all your Premack games and play them outside. Generalization is a super important step. And where you are going to need Premack the most is... well, outside! So you need to play it there.

You can use food and toys and work through different arousal levels.

  • Boost your value outside so you can compete better with distractions.
  • Be the gateway to all things wonderful
  • Build impulse control, focus and reliability
  • Have fun while teaching critical concepts

The magic of Premack is that you build so much value in your dog working for you, that distractions are no longer distractions. For example - deer where a huge problem for me, and yes my dogs chased them every time they saw them at first. But now, with Premack games, my dogs no longer care about deer. They are calm in the presence of deer, and they stay focused on me. And that feels so amazing!

This would be one of your first games to play with stay when generalizing it to outside spaces.


The Line Up

CONFIDENCE, FOCUS, ENGAGEMENT, IMPULSE CONTROL, THINKING IN AROUSAL, FLEXIBILITY (RELATIONSHIP)

Here is a demonstration of how I get all my dogs lined up to get their picture taken. I use simple cues and skill taught in this program:

  • Follow a Lure
  • Sit
  • Premack

Here you can also see how you can have a stay in a position without even using the cue  as long as your dog knows to wait for the release. This is what we “control positions.” A control position is a position you dog is cued and then expected to hold until released. My dogs have a controlled sit when in the line up. Their downs are also a controlled position.

Always remember when teaching a stay or a controlled position, that you have to build a lot of value and reliability with the release. So remember to really work on your Premack cues if a “Stay” is important to you with your training.

L3-STAY CUE

Stay Part 1

FOCUS, IMPULSE CONTROL

You have been diligently working on your prerequisites for Stay:

  1. Premack
  2. Calmness, stillness, patience
  3. Focus
  4. Impulse-Control

Now it is time to put all these together and on cue.

I highly recommend playing the Paws On Duration Game first, and build patience and stillness in your pup first. This isessential for success with stay. You also want to minimize mistakes with stay!! This is so important I can't say it enough. Paw On Duration helps you to understand your pup's level of control and readiness for stay - I'd much rather your pup break duration with Paws On than with Stay!

Stay is a complex cue. There are three aspects (well, maybe four) that your dog has to learn:

  1. Duration
  2. Distractions
  3. Distance
  4. and one additional "D" Direction also needs to be addressed (this one includes out of sight)

In order for your dog to clearly understand all the rules around the Stay cue, you must work one aspect ata time. You must also establish reliability with each aspect before moving on. I go in this particular sequence because in order to work certain aspects, others have to already be in place. There is a method to my madness and why I do things the way I do.

We initially start teaching a Sit-Stay, because it is easier for puppies to do the sit and hold it for a short period of time. Down can be a bit more complicated, but in the end, typically, a down-stay will be more reliable with duration than a sit-stay. They are both taught the same way.

If you are not particular on position, if your dog is sitting or lying down when staying, then you don't need to correct any position change, just focus on your puppy remaining in the spot where you told him to stay. If you plan on doing any type of competition or sport (obedience, rallyor agility) of if you are planning on training your puppy for service or assistance work, then position is important as well as the spot.

The first steps in teaching your young dog to STAY, is to build duration. Your puppy needs to learn impulse control and how to, in a sense, do nothing but hold a position and a spot until you release him. This is not necessarily an easy thing for a young, energetic and easily distracted puppy to do. So, in order to properly train a reliable Stay cue, you must set good foundation work. This foundation first builds on time. So, for the first week I do not want you stepping away from your puppy. You will stand within reach to reward. Build duration up to 20-30 seconds (and yes, it will feel like forever at first). When your puppy is good at holding the stay for at least 15 seconds, you can also work in some mild distractions of you moving your body, so your puppy starts to understand that just because you move, does not mean that he can move too.

This video includes the beginning stages of the cue, under simple circumstances to minimize mistakes and maximize success. DO NOT RUSH THROUGH THE STAGES OF THIS CUE! In order to build reliability in this behavior, you must dedicate the time needed for each stage to be solid with little to no mistakes before moving on.



Stay Part 2

CONFIDENCE, FOCUS, IMPULSE CONTROL

DO NOT RUSH!!!!!!!! REALLY PROOF EACH STAGE before moving on to the next!!

Minimizing mistakes of breaking the cue is key to reliability down the road. I can't stress this enough!

You also need to make sure that your Premack cue is very strong! This is also key to successful stays. With a strong Premack cue, you don't even really need the stay cue if when you tell your dog to sit or down (control position or boundary) that he has to wait for the Premack to move again... :)

Minimize mistakes!! Twomistakes means you are going back a stage and proofing there again.


Stay Part 3

FOCUS, IMPULSE CONTROL, THINKING IN AROUSAL, RELIABILITY

Part 3 is the true test - to work through higher distractions! Be ready!

Watch your dog and understand...

  1. Your dog's mental state of mind. Stress or over-tiredness can lead to breaking cues. A tired Aussie makes bad decisions and can be cranky or sassy.
  2. Know your dog's body language and observe how settled he is in the position he's in. Downs for duration have a tendency to be more reliable in the end than a sit.
  3. Know subtle bodytwitches and shifts that will indicate he might break and throw out a subtle attention sound to get focus back on you without breaking the cue. You have a ton of time to teach this cue - it just takes practice, practice, practice (and a level of maturity)!