Stay to Play

Here’s a fun game to play with your dog that will help teach her impulse control, develop a more solid stay and an enthusiastic release.

Tug-N-Treat toy, available from Clean Run, helps teach your non-toy-motivated dog to lust after toys Search for it at cleanrun.com

This exercise will help teach your dog what a release cue is and will build in anticipation for that cue. So be sure you know what word you’re using as a release, and stick with it!

You can use a special toy, but if your dog isn’t crazy about toys, you can use a Tug-N-Treat toy, or even her favorite treats.

Tease the dog with the toy (or food) and ask her to sit.  Immediately release from the sit (OK!), CLICK, and then run with the toy. When the dog catches up, play (or feed). If you’re feeding, add plenty of praise; feeding should be more than merely dropping a piece of food into the dog’s always ready maw. Be excited!

Start out with the dog right next to you.  Work both sides.

If the dog gets up before your release, just don’t play. (“oops!” and back into a sit)

The dog has to sit and remain sitting, and wait for the release to play the game.

Gradually add distance from the dog, but don’t worry too much about duration. She must, however, hold it while you walk away and wait for her release.

Early in teaching the game (after your dog understands that you expect her to stay until you release her), start to tease her with movement. Start this when you’re still close to her. Look like you’re getting ready to run (rock back on your heels slightly, tense to spring, wiggle, move your feet – you’re adding both duration and distractions here, hopefully building her anticipation – and control). If she breaks, just start over without any comment. Remember, it’s a game! Keep it light, and fun!

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