Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

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bahamutt99
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Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

Postby bahamutt99 » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:03 pm

I've been working on Loki's UCDX for a few years now. We're sitting at one leg, and would have had a 2nd this last weekend but for one vexing problem: the little lazybones is laying down on her out-of-sight sit/stay. (She blew one of her trials when she cut the corner on the broad jump, which is an easier fix.) She waited until 2:46 and 2:40 to plop into a down. The first time she even had the gall to pop back up into a sit like she'd been there the whole time. :po: This is the third time she's done this in competition, and the second time she's blown a shot at her leg based solely on that particular screw-up. (In other words, if she'd stay sitting, she'd be UCDX Loki by now and we could focus on more fun stuff like rally and agility.)

So. Obedience people. Any suggestions on how to correct this? Its usually me working dogs solo, so recruiting someone to pull her up when she downs is tricky. I've tried laying things under her (like jump poles), and she wont lay down with something under her, but she knows when those things aren't there. What would you do? I mean I could come running out of a blind and scare the daylights out of her when she drops, but I don't want to completely blow her stay (which is rock-solid at this point). The only other idea I've heard of was extremely old-school and involved one person trying to goad the dog into breaking position while the handler waited out of sight with a shock collar. That may work, but I don't really want to do it (and don't have an e-collar anyway).

HALP! Kthxbye.

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Re: Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

Postby chako » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:00 pm

Well, you will have to find some way to monitor her out of site. Either with a friend spying for you or a mirror or even a web camera and a laptop. When she goes from the sit to the down, you don't have to scare the beejus out of her, but I would rush up to her and firmly correct her and put her back into the sit.

First, though, you might want to take a step back training wise and work on her sit stay with her in site. Have her hold it a full minute beyond where she would have to in trial. If she can hold it reliably with you insite, then go around a corner and spy her in a mirror or use the web cam. when you do this, start small again. Have her hold it for only 30 seconds at first, then return and praise her profusely. Then a minute, then so on. Generally, I find, taking a few steps backward in training helps to reshape behaviors.

If you were to use a shock collar (something I generally recommend against, but they SOMETIMES are the best tool), you don't actually have to use one that shocks. You can use a vibrating one or use one on the "1" or "2" low level (which you can hold in your hand easily without any pain whatsoever -- it's more like very mild tingling/discomfort). When she goes down, give her the vibration or low level stimulation and then stop it as soon as she is in the sit. That communicates to the dog that the sit is the position to remain in.

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Re: Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

Postby ProudMommy77 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:08 am

How about using a mirror with your back to her??

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Re: Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

Postby BabyReba » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:30 am

what about having a second handler help out? you do what you do, second handler is located someplace behind the dog (out of her direct line of sight) and when loki drops into a down, have the second handler give the reminder that she's supposed to remain in sit ... and eventually, as she becomes more reliable, you can phase second handler out.

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Re: Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

Postby Red Chrome » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:40 pm

BabyReba wrote:what about having a second handler help out? you do what you do, second handler is located someplace behind the dog (out of her direct line of sight) and when loki drops into a down, have the second handler give the reminder that she's supposed to remain in sit ... and eventually, as she becomes more reliable, you can phase second handler out.


This is what we do at the local AKC OB club for dogs with this problem(Judge). I also leave and then pop back in periodically to reward him for staying in a sit as well. That way he never knows when I'm coming back and anticipates it. I've seen great results with this method even with a Chihuahua that breaks sit stays(kinda in the same boat as you, that is the only thing holding her back from a CDX).

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Re: Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

Postby chako » Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:38 pm

I read that she usually works solo and recruiting a second person is hard :)

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Re: Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

Postby Red Chrome » Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:56 pm

chako wrote:I read that she usually works solo and recruiting a second person is hard :)


Missed that part. In that case, I'd suggest putting her in a sit stay and then walking out of the area she is in, walking right back and treating her, then disppear again and reappear treating her again. Do that over and over for a minute or so. Being sporadic so that she doesn't know when to expect you. After she is solid for a good minute in a sit, increase the time using the same method. Eventually you should have a solid sit stay using that method. For Judge when I do this, I use a tug reward and that has really been helping but I also have someone available normally to correct him if he does go to a down.

Maybe try staying where you can see her, but she can't see you, and when she goes to go down, verbally correct her from where you are at?? Hope that helps.

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Re: Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

Postby bahamutt99 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:27 pm

The periodically popping back in sounds like it could be a good idea. I will have to try that. Keep her guessing. Her stays are pretty much 100% with me in her line of sight -- I can't remember the last time she broke position when she could see me. My only concern with the shorter sit/stays is that she seems to be counting the seconds as it is. lol

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Re: Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

Postby Red Chrome » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:52 pm

bahamutt99 wrote:The periodically popping back in sounds like it could be a good idea. I will have to try that. Keep her guessing. Her stays are pretty much 100% with me in her line of sight -- I can't remember the last time she broke position when she could see me. My only concern with the shorter sit/stays is that she seems to be counting the seconds as it is. lol


You make her do the whole time but she won't know WHEN you are coming back if you keep popping in. It has worked with Judge, That's all I can go by. She sounds a lot like he was in his stays!

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Re: Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

Postby furever_pit » Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:33 pm

If you have a hard time getting a second person to help you out can you take Loki to an area where you can walk away where she can't see you but you can see her? If you have blinds with eyeholes drilled in you can use those. This would allow you to give corrections while out of sight using an e-collar.

I would do that coupled with periodic treating to proof the behavior.

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Re: Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

Postby bahamutt99 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:05 pm

I've watched her from behind a blind before. I've actually never seen her drop except in competition. The last time she dropped in practice was a loooooong time ago, on a matted floor at a place where we've trialed at.

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Re: Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

Postby Amie » Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:24 pm

That's a common problem when you taught a down from a sit position originally - the dog thinks to some degree "I haven't been rewarded yet, I must need to go that extra step" and it's really tricky to fix that.

I would probably try using a new cue word for sit (something that doesn't sound anything like "sit" - do you use "stay" already? That one makes sense to me for this case) and then start training it as if the holding the sit for a long time was a brand new behavior. Start with small increments, gradually build up the duration.

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Re: Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

Postby Kingsgurl » Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:59 pm

She only does it in competition? Little Miss Loki sounds ring wise. Does the UKC offer matches (set up just like a trial, but not 'for real')? Best bet is set her up to make the mistake in a venue that looks just like a real trial to her, but is a situation where you can come back and replace her.

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Re: Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

Postby bahamutt99 » Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:19 pm

Amie, I don't even command her "sit" when we're in competition because she's already there when we're set up to do the exercise. Last time I gave her a "sit" to start that exercise, she dropped on the spot because I think it confused her. So I just wait that out and give her the "stay" command. We've never followed sit/stays with down/stays to try and avoid this very problem. Since UKC doesn't have a long down exercise (just the honor), we haven't fallen into that trap where we work a sit/stay then a down/stay. To be frank, I think she's a little bit lazy. She just assumes she isn't going anywhere for a while and decides to get comfy.

KG, there's nothing like that here. I'd have to travel. They do have some things in Amarillo which is about 2 hours away, and that might be workable. My only other option is to enroll her in some open obedience classes here locally, which we might be able to do. The next month is tricky. I'm saving up $$$ for a 3-day weight pull over new years.

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Re: Open obedience issue: dropping on sit/stay

Postby XDogs » Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:12 pm

What Amie is referring to is the initial learning process for the down. We usually teach it from a sit. A lot of dogs will be waiting for the reward for a while and then try the down position to illicit a cookie. They learn this way before you even think about practicing for a CD or CDX, but it will be pretty hard wired in the dog until kingdom come.

That aside, I do think that "getting comfy" has something to do with it as well. Sitting is a more alert state. By nature, they are not going to sit in a boring environment for minutes and hours on end. The reason she is staying in a sit when you are in eyesight is that you are possibly going to tell her to do something.. ergo, better stay alert.

Two things to consider: practice the sit/stay the way you plan to do it in competition. Try and see what Loki would do if you simply told her to "stay" when she is already sitting. Her understanding of "stay" may be "stay in that spot", which she is doing (her being the honest dog I have come to know, she is not defying you, but staying in the definition that you set her up in). See if she will stay in a sit for 5 minutes while you mill about (ie: doing dishes) or if she will settle down. That would tell you that her definition of "stay" is not to stay in that position, but to stay in that place.

How easily does she go from a down into a sit, btw? As counter-intuitive as it may be, but doing puppy sit ups combined with the stay exercise might not be a bad idea at all for her. Tell her sit.. forget about the stay. (after all.. sit means sit until I tell you otherwise). Expect her to stay in a a sit for a while. Then, tell her down... she has to stay there for a while. The sit again. If sit begins to mean sit as long as I tell you otherwise, the "stay" won't confuse her.


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