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Humankind. Be both.
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Quiz and I showed in UKC Open today. Many of you know that when we debuted in Open (AKC) this summer, his groups fell apart - to the point that he was panicking and running out of the ring to come find me. Poor boy! I suspect he wasn't as confident in my absence as I thought, and in one of the three days of showing, he was really startled by some explosive barking just behind him outside the ring. I did that initial three day show, plus 2 subsequent UKC shows and he had stress monkey groups each time, so I stopped showing and set out to re-build groups.

Three months later, I entered him in a local "fake" trial... "fake" b/c it's just about all the local obed clubs competing against each other for bragging rights. I went into it just wanting him to hold his groups... and he DID! I was soooooo happy! Not only that, he and I finished 3rd out of 32 dog/handler teams in Open! That was two weeks ago.

TODAY....... he didn't panic, but went down on the sit in both shows. ARGH!!!!! :doh: :doh: :doh: It started as sniffing and he just went down from there. I'm not sure if he's sniffing b/c of stress (carryover from before) or if he's just being a butt and sniffing, but I do have it on video to analyze.

The worst part? In BOTH shows it blew scores of 198.5 which would've been HIT!

It KILLS me to blow such great scores! I'm SUPER competitive... not against other people and not in a nasty way... but totally against myself and it's driving me nuts that I can't seem to help him get it all together on the same day. He's consistently scored 197 or better in every open ring we've NQ'd in. WAHHHHHHHH.

*sigh* Back again tomorrow. Fingers crossed that we'll have the bugs worked out. The lying down on the sit is a new variation. Historically it was running out to come get me or staying in place with a LOT of stress vocalization. Oh well. At least it's getting better..... BUT STILL! 198.5 in Open A!!!!!!! WAHHHH!

OK. Pity party over now. Thanks for listening.
 

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I'm so sorry! :( I took my sheltie up to Open but we never got a leg. She would lie down on the long sit-stays too. Good luck to you guys in fixing this. It is why I rarely practice down-stays in comparison to my sit-stays with Scout.
 

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They get it
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Poor Quiz, he'll get it! That is one reason I haven't entered Dooley in a show yet. He has everything down but is not consistant on the stays. Once you have a stay problem, it is tough to solve. But, I am confident you two will come through with flying Quiz colors!
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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Thinking good thoughts and confident, upright, sits for ya Stephanie & Quiz!!!
 

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Welcome to the Stay Problem Club. It stinks being a member, but the good news is that almost everybody that shows in open enough is a member at some time or another. Hopefully your membership will expire soon!

Conner used to be rock solid at sit stays. Then one day last year (we had just gotten our UD a few months before, had 8 OTCH points, had gotten our Open B first the trial before), he just decided for whatever reason to go down. So the next week we practiced and proofed sits every chance we got. Got the the next trial (which happened to be 7 1/2 hours away), and he went down both days.

At that point it was evident he had a problem, so I pulled him from open for the rest of the year. First show back in January, he held his sit (plus won open and got HIT and high combined). Very next weekend, he was back down both days.

Pulled him out again until April. First show back, held his sit fine, next show after that, down again. And it has been a consistent battle like that.


The thing that is so frustrating with Conner is he absolutely will not go down anywhere except in the ring. I can do pretty much anything, any proof, and he will not go down. But put him in a ring setting and if he decides to go down he does it the second I'm out of sight.

So right now my plan is to only show him in open 1 trial per weekend, and only if there is a match the night before. So far that's been successful.

If you haven't read Linda Koutsky's article on stays, I highly recommend it. Following her advice is the only thing that has kept me from pulling Conner from Open forever.
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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Sorry to hear that Stephanie. But it does not sound as bad as during the summer so I will be hoping it is just him being a bit of a butt head. Of all the "problems" to encounter in obedience I really believe that the stays are the hardest by far to fix and it sounds as if you have made great strides in a very short time with him. Hoping tomorrow brings better results.
 

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Ouch, that had to hurt!! Thinking good, upright thoughts for you!
I have a suggestion, but it's "correction based" (but doesn't hurt). Let me know if you want to go that route....
 

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Humankind. Be both.
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Discussion Starter #8
Ouch, that had to hurt!! Thinking good, upright thoughts for you!
I have a suggestion, but it's "correction based" (but doesn't hurt). Let me know if you want to go that route....
I'm open to hearing about any/all ideas. Even if I don't end up using an idea "as is," sometimes I find a way to tweak it.
 

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Here's some of the many things I have done this past year that seemed to have helped. I had never tried any of these until I knew we had a problem.

I never ever end stays with a down stay. In a trial, I will give quick, quiet praise for the down stay. Then I put the dog back in a sit stay while I gather up my leash and armband. Lots and lots of praise for such a good sit stay and release. That way the last thing the dogs remembers being praised for in the ring is a sit.

At a match, I will give someone an extra special treat to go in and feed my dog at some point during the stays. I had done that plenty before, here's what I added to make it more powerful: Right before we go in for stays at a trial, I let someone give him a little piece of his special treat. Then I let him watch the person sit down with the rest of his treat. As you leave the ring go right to the person and get his treats. (make sure the person isn't too close to the rings, you don't want it considered double handling)

The above ideas are good for long-term help, but if you want something to try to help fix stays tomorrow this is something you could try: a couple of minutes before you go into the ring, put dog in sit stay. Have someone else come up and tell him to down. If he goes down, you go in and correct him for going down (whatever you would normally do for a dog going down on a sit), and that will be fresh in his mind as he goes in the ring that you want him to be sitting up. If he weren't to go down, you would get to reward him for making such a good decisions to sit.
 

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That's a bummer. But you guys will rock tomorrow!

I assume you were at the WLAOTC trial today. We were there too but in the Rally ring.

We'll be there tomorrow so if I see you we will stop by and say hi.
 

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Here's some more ideas for proofing sits. When I was really having stay problems I would do a couple of these a day. Now I just do about one a week to make sure he's really thinking about sitting. The tougher the proof, the more excited Conner gets about not falling for it.

Lie down on the floor, and do anything that would encourage him to want to come down with you (except give a down command/signal!) like pat the floor or make kissy noises.

Put him on a bed

Tie a scarf around his neck and put something heavy in it

Have someone else give him a command

Tie a long clear line around his collar. Hold it while you are out of sight. About 2 minutes in, give a yank on it.

Put a handful of treats right below him.
 

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Humankind. Be both.
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Discussion Starter #12
That's a bummer. But you guys will rock tomorrow!

I assume you were at the WLAOTC trial today. We were there too but in the Rally ring.

We'll be there tomorrow so if I see you we will stop by and say hi.
YUP! That's the one! How'd your Rally go? See you tomorrow!
 

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Humankind. Be both.
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Discussion Starter #13
Here's some more ideas for proofing sits. When I was really having stay problems I would do a couple of these a day. Now I just do about one a week to make sure he's really thinking about sitting. The tougher the proof, the more excited Conner gets about not falling for it.

Lie down on the floor, and do anything that would encourage him to want to come down with you (except give a down command/signal!) like pat the floor or make kissy noises.

Put him on a bed

Tie a scarf around his neck and put something heavy in it

Have someone else give him a command

Tie a long clear line around his collar. Hold it while you are out of sight. About 2 minutes in, give a yank on it.

Put a handful of treats right below him.
All interesting ideas for proofing, thanks for sharing them.

I'm 99.9% sure the problem is from sniffing. He's *always* been a sniffer and that's a hard problem to fix b/c attempts to correct it can make it worse since sniffing is also a displacement behavior. I know in one ring today it started with him bending over in the sit and then basically going down as if to say, "oh my... much easier to sniff down here..."

I have to find a way to go back and make it way more fun to NOT sniff than to sniff.

*sigh*..*sniff*sniff*
 

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They get it
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Another suggestion (ya, this is like a student telling a teacher how to solve a math problem, but take it for what its worth). When entered in a match, go in like it is a real show, don't correct, treat or praise. Make the dog think it is a real show situation then when they have their "issue" sniffing, going down, etc. that is when you correct.
 

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I'm 99.9% sure the problem is from sniffing. He's *always* been a sniffer and that's a hard problem to fix b/c attempts to correct it can make it worse since sniffing is also a displacement behavior. I know in one ring today it started with him bending over in the sit and then basically going down as if to say, "oh my... much easier to sniff down here..."
*sigh*..*sniff*sniff*
If it were me, I'd want to face the problem directly, so I would try putting something that smells really good down there. He would only gets the treats when not looking at them.

If you don't want to go that route, then I would focus on not allowing him to move his paws. It's a lot harder to go down if he doesn't move his feet. I like to train this by putting a small dowel stick across the dogs' feet. If he moves his feet, the dowel falls off.
 

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Humankind. Be both.
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Discussion Starter #16
If it were me, I'd want to face the problem directly, so I would try putting something that smells really good down there. He would only gets the treats when not looking at them.

If you don't want to go that route, then I would focus on not allowing him to move his paws. It's a lot harder to go down if he doesn't move his feet. I like to train this by putting a small dowel stick across the dogs' feet. If he moves his feet, the dowel falls off.
I actually used the food refusal quite a bit in his early training. I used a John Rogerson technique where you start with food visibe and then work up to making it *look* like you're placing food, but you really keep it on you and when you return, you go through the motion of pretending to pick it up, but really, you've been palming it the entire time -- the idea being, the dog thinks there's food there even if he can't see it while in the stay.

Good idea to try going back to something like that.

I've seen people do the dowel on the paws. I'll have to try that.

Thanks!
 

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What seems to have worked for a few people I know (but yes, it involves corrections) is to have all kinds of different people both correct and reward your dog.
Go ahead and leave the ring as you usually do. At the first sign of sniffing, the "judge" should go in and firmly correct him, NO SNIFF. If he goes down, the "judge" should go in and firmly correct him "SIT! STAY!" and reposition him if necessary.
If he remains sitting even for a few seconds, the "judge" should go in and praise and reward him then walk back away from him.
Sometimes, someone who appears to be just wandering around outside the ring should do it. Sometimes it should be a ring steward. Sometimes you, yourself should come back and randomly reward him for still sitting (or correct him for sniffing or going down).
The idea is that the dog never knows who is going to come in and correct him or reward him. It could be anyone.
Good luck today!
 

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What seems to have worked for a few people I know (but yes, it involves corrections) is to have all kinds of different people both correct and reward your dog.
Go ahead and leave the ring as you usually do. At the first sign of sniffing, the "judge" should go in and firmly correct him, NO SNIFF. If he goes down, the "judge" should go in and firmly correct him "SIT! STAY!" and reposition him if necessary.
If he remains sitting even for a few seconds, the "judge" should go in and praise and reward him then walk back away from him.
Sometimes, someone who appears to be just wandering around outside the ring should do it. Sometimes it should be a ring steward. Sometimes you, yourself should come back and randomly reward him for still sitting (or correct him for sniffing or going down).
The idea is that the dog never knows who is going to come in and correct him or reward him. It could be anyone.
Good luck today!

Hi -- okay here is my take on this.
First off -- my first golden started his great decline in sit stays (which ended with him being petrified to sit next to any dog -- for the rest of his life -- thanks instructors! you rock). Anyways it all started with him sniffing. My instructor's solution was to walk in and smack him and say NO! STAY! or whatever.
Now that is an extreme version of what is suggested above -- but I think my point is, do NOT handle stay corrections (especially if the dog is stationary) with NEGATIVITY. It is SO easy to create a bad spot of the stays with corrections that even anywhere else would hardly register on the dog's radar.
Okay, so the 2nd part of my suggestion is taken from field work. SIT MEANS SIT. Sit does not mean bend over and sniff, it doesn't mean move your front feet, it doesn't mean turn around and look behind you. It means SIT.
I have had an ongoing problem with Fisher sniffing madly while waiting in the holding blind. It started as being a typical boy and wanting to smell where the other dogs had been, and developed into a habit -- that what we do in the holding blind is turn ourselves into a pretzel and sniff. I started a very strict regimen of SIT MEANS SIT and if he sniffed the ground in the holding blind, he got a low correction with the ecollar and a verbal SIT. Nothing more, nothing less.
So for in the ring, I am not debating the notion of having other people correct him, but I am suggesting that they not so much correct (as in NEGATIVE) but rather, they need to just say SIT and reposition him in an upright sitting position.
The other factor is -- will this be just as or even more stressful for the dog? Stephanie is dealing with "little reactive red dog" and not "golden rug" like our breed dogs. Different mind set altogether. If Quiz is nervous to begin with (and I bet 98% of his sniffing is stress relief), having a stranger come in and manhandle him might increase that stress tenfold.
Back to sit means sit. In the Celeste Meade seminar I went to, she did an exercise called "Chair Sit" which basically had the dog do a sit stay with the handler parked in a lawn chair 3 feet behind them. You'd be amazed how many dogs totally fell apart and couldn't figure out that they had to sit still, facing forward, when their handler was 3 feet behind them. (my dog being one of them!) This was another very clever exercise to emphasize SIT MEANS SIT. The only correction for turning or laying down (many of the dogs would lay down to more easily turn and face their handler) was for the handler to reposition them and say SIT. The benefits of this also, you can practice AT the show. I can't say how great this works long term as I have not done it except for a few times, but if I were actively trialing I think I'd give it a whirl.
Best of luck and I commiserate!
 

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Yes, the amount of "correction" sure has to depend on the dog, and for some dogs, it might just be having other people reward him for holding the sit rather than acknowledging when he breaks the sit.
Um yeah, Tito is about as reactive as a brick. The building could fall down and he'd probably yawn.


So for in the ring, I am not debating the notion of having other people correct him, but I am suggesting that they not so much correct (as in NEGATIVE) but rather, they need to just say SIT and reposition him in an upright sitting position.
The other factor is -- will this be just as or even more stressful for the dog? Stephanie is dealing with "little reactive red dog" and not "golden rug" like our breed dogs. Different mind set altogether. If Quiz is nervous to begin with (and I bet 98% of his sniffing is stress relief), having a stranger come in and manhandle him might increase that stress tenfold.
QUOTE]
 

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Yeah, having someone else correct your dog is something that you really have to look at your dog. For some dogs it works great, others not so much. I have used it before some with Conner (although I am getting away from that). I would never ever do that with my Lhasa. The reason being if he thinks he's about to be corrected he will bolt. And that's the last thing I need, a dog that runs around the ring every time a judge or steward goes in his direction during stays.

I used to always use hands on the collar to lift them back up into a sit as my correction, but I have started using tapping their feet with my foot instead. It gives a much more immediate reaction. Also, if they go down in the ring, I can't correct by lifting the collar, but I could tap the floor right in front of their feet. So they are getting some sort of feedback about not going down in the ring.
 
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