Thursday, April 2, 2015

Working on the Down Stay

In dog training speak, a down stay just means the dog lies down and stays put.  When we go to restaurants, for instance, and Isaac goes under the table and lies there quietly, that is a down stay.

One of my training goals for Isaac this year is to improve the length of his down stay. He does a nice down stay, like at restaurants, but usually starts to get antsy after about an hour. I think this is just because I rarely ask him to do a longer down stay because I rarely need him to do a longer one. My currently lifestyle doesn't involve things that would require a longer down stay, at least not most of the time.

But I want to be able to do things on occasion that would require a longer down stay. Like going to a movie. I almost never go to movies, it's been more than a year since I went to one, but I have not taken Isaac because I suspect he'd get restless before it was over. And I want to be able to sit in a Starbucks or someplace like that and work on my laptop for a couple hours without worrying about him getting antsy.

I am assuming the way to increase the length of his down is just to practice asking him to do it longer, just a little bit at a time, until he can easily do a more. Today we went to a local restaurant with WiFi and he did a really nice down stay for 40 minutes. I plan to visit this restaurant three or four times a week and gradually increase the amount of time. I just did 40 minutes today because I knew he could do that really well and I wanted to start with something he could easily succeed at.  I plan to do 45 minutes next time and will probably increase it by about five minutes each visit.

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