Listen for Stillness

3 dogs in a group stay, spaniel in a down stay, lab cross in a stand stay, corgi in a sit stay

This is starting to look like the season of stays. With stay instruction and training working its way into many lessons.

Stays are an integral foundation behavior and a part of nearly all performance sports. And the bare bones basics of a stay is stillness until release cue. Defining stillness for a dog consistently though can be a challenge for many people. For many folks, when we start to increase distance and go out of sight, or turn so you can’t see the dog, stay criteria degrades. The dog starts creeping at the start line, or changes positions, or tap dances, the handler none the wiser until they turn to see their dog.

This is where we go low tech. A bell on the collar. And training yourself to hear the silence. Silence means stillness. Stillness means criteria is met. Criteria met means reward or release cue.

3 dog collars each with bells on them on a granite counter top

Removing the need to rely on vision to validate criteria met for stays means increased reliability, consistency and confidence in your dog and your training.

Listen for stillness.

0 thoughts on “Listen for Stillness

  1. Great idea. Gracie does pretty well with stays but the hardest one for her is to stay while I walk all the way around her. She’s getting the hang of switching her head position so she can see me, but it has been a challenge for her!

    1. Yea the walk around can be a challenge for many in the early stage of stay practice. For some dogs giving them a forward focal point (such as a toy or bit of food in a dish) placed a few feet in front of them for a few repetitions can help take the focus off of you moving behind them and give you an opportunity to reward successful stay as you move. Have fun with your practice!

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