A New Obedience Game

I have a problem.  I have a show dog that I taught to sit.  I’ve always been taught not to do obedience with a show dog because you don’t want them to sit in the show ring, but he was a hyper puppy, so I taught him to sit as a way to calm him down.  Now Tucker likes to sit because he believes it will get him a cookie. We’ve been showing and going to handling class and practicing stand, so he’s getting a lot better, but I really need to teach him to stand, so it’s never an issue in the ring.  Besides, if I get a good solid stand maybe I can do obedience and conformation at the same time.

I also have a problem with Raiden.  He’s forgotten stand (probably because he never knew it that well) and down seems to require me to put a cookie on the ground before he’ll give in and do it.

I’m going to try a new game with both Tucker and Raiden to try to get a solid stand with Tucker and teach him down, which he doesn’t know and to help get Raiden ready for earning CD (companion dog) and RN (rally novice) titles. The game I’m simply going to call the sit-down-stand game.  I’m sure I’m probably not the first one to try this, but I’m going to start Tucker with just sit and stand because he knows both.  I’ll give him the sit command, say “good” (his marker), reward him and release him with the word “break.”  Then, I will give the “stand” command, give him the marker “good”, reward and release.  I will keep doing this until we can eventually build up speed.  Then, to make “Stand” more important for Tucker and get a more reliable stand from Tucker I will start treating him only when he stands.  So, when he sits his only reward will be praise.  Soon I’m hoping that he’ll be very happy to stand.

With Raiden, I’ve already started this game with sit, stand and down because he has learned all three in the past and these commands should come back to him quickly.  He is starting to get down without me having to put my hand all the way to the ground with a cookie in it.   That is progress.  Only after he does all three reliably will I try to increase the speed of the commands.

Raiden needs a more reliable heel.  He always wants to be in front position.  The problem is he wants to be there because he was a show dog, not because he knows the front command, so after he has heel, I also need to teach him “front”.  Then, I’ll work on teaching him to move into the heel position from the left and from the right.  I’m going to use “left” and “right” as the command for those actions.  I haven’t done enough advanced obedience to know what others use for those commands, but those words make sense to me.

We are doing a heeling game we learned in class where I walk a couple steps with a treat in my left hand and he only gets the treat after I stop and he sits in the heeling position.  This is working very well to teach a dog who has never liked to heel that heeling position is a good place to be.  Hopefully, all of this will come together for Raiden in the next couple months and we can start complete in obedience and rally over the summer.

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