Gretchen is making great strides now that her training is a bit more consistent. Her sits and downs are fluent, and she’s much more focused than the last few days. Today we started, or rather, restarted learning the stand from a sit or down.
We started with the very basics, and used the touch cue, which is nothing more than having the dog follow my hand. I do not use a verbal cue to touch because by simply holding my hand out, palms flat and fingers straight, Gretchen knows that she’s to touch my hand with her nose. She also knows to follow my hand wherever it goes.
So, to train the stand, here’s the approach that I took:
1) Placed Gretchen in a sit at my left side.
2) Using my right hand with palms facing the dog, I moved my hand straight out from her face, but did not move too far.
3) As soon as she got up, I clicked and delivered the treat. The timing of the click is critical at this stage. Ideally, I want Gretchen to stand up without moving forward. Only her back end should move out, if she’s getting up from a sit.
For now, however, I keep my criteria very low to ensure her success at this exercise and to cut down on the likelihood that she’ll get frustrated and shut down. A dog that has shut down, like a human, will not learn, and will dread future learning situations.
Right now, I’m only interested in her getting up. I don’t mind if she moves around. The click ends the behavior and serves as a “release” signal anyway, so once I’ve clicked, it doesn’t really matter what she does next. Once she understands this concept, then I’ll raise the criteria slightly.