Monday, April 22, 2013

Project Stay: Duration Check-in

Rip and I are now on day 5 of Duration stay work.  I must admit that I've only made my goal of twice-a-day training sessions one day so far.  But I have been working on stays every day, which is progress!

I've been increasing at 30 second increments each session - expect for 2 sessions at 2 minutes long.  He broke at around 1.5 minutes the first time we did 2 minutes, so we did not add time for the next session.  I'm not adding time unless he's successful.

We are now up to 3 minute stays in both the down and the sit.


What I've noticed:
  • I need to stay a bit closer to him than I thought I would.  Most of the time I'm 3' to 4' away.  I can tell he's just learning what I want (stay in the same position, in the same place), so I find staying closer to him seems to make him more sure of what he's doing.
  • Watching him closely pays off.  This way I can tell if he's making little shifts that might lead to a break in position.  When I see this, I step a little closer in to give him support.  I'm not rushing in to correct him (which would make him even more confused) - it's just a quiet step in his direction, reinforcing the position.

Something I'm trying with Rip that I didn't do with my other dogs is differentiating his downs.

For the downs needed in the non-stay exercises, I've trained Rip to do a quick "sphinx" down -- folding back into the down position.  For stays I'm training him the command "hip" (I'm saying this instead of down) and asking him to rest on his left hip in the down.

Why am I doing this?  First, this is the sort of down my dogs tend to do when they're resting on their own, so I'm assuming it's more comfortable for a longer period of time.  Second, I want him to know that with the "hip" type of down, he's going to be there for a while.  With the "down" down, I'm likely to ask him to do something else pretty quickly (e.g., recall, stand, sit).

I'm not sure if it will work, but it's something I've been considering for a while, so Rip gets to be my test dog ;)


Rip demonstrates the "hip" down 
that we're using for our stays


Compared to


The "down" (aka sphinx) down
that we use for the other exercises

4 comments:

  1. I know of other people who have used "drop" for the quick sphinx down, and "down" for the long stay. Same idea.

    Kady stays pretty well. Dora needs work. I like your schedule.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carolyn - I trained Maggie initially with 2 different commands - "down" for the stay, and "drop" for other exercises. But, I used the same position applied to both commands.

      Then, when Rally started, things got confusing (for the human) - as the signs say "down," but it would really apply to my "drop" command.

      So I ditched the "drop" except for the drop on recall exercise, and just used down all the time.

      I think the only reason it worked at all is because Maggie is such a smart, forgiving dog. I'm not sure Rip would give me this much leeway :)

      Delete
  2. I know of other people who have used "drop" for the quick sphinx down, and "down" for the long stay. Same idea.

    Kady stays pretty well. Dora needs work. I like your schedule.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Hip" is a great idea! It's got to be more comfortable to maintain so it's more likely he will stay for the duration.

    ReplyDelete

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