Teaching Gracie almost anything is pretty easy. She’s a super quick study. But teaching her to stand has been our weak spot. I’ve just not been able to get her to do it.

I learned to teach stand by luring. Using a treat in front of her nose, pulling it forward until she’s in a stand position, and then click and treat. But for some reason (and this may be my fault with timing or something) the second she is up and I click her butt is already on the way back to a sit and she gets her treat sitting. She also thinks that trying to grab my hand with her mouth is a game, and we just weren’t getting anywhere. What she’s learning is to jump up, grab my hand, and sit as quickly as possible. Which is not what I’m trying to teach.

One can keep trying to do something that’s not working (definition of crazy??) or you can look for something else to try. I looked for something else, and found it. Capturing a stand. Here’s the blog and video I found, if you’re interested, but the basic idea is to capture (treat your dog) for the behavior you want, and it is really easy to catch your dog standing. They do it all the time (just not when I’m training it!)

So we gave it a try, and lo and behold, I think she’s getting it! I started by finding her standing, and clicking and treating her as long as she stood. Once she sat or lay down, the treats stopped. I moved around in the room and she came to me, standing again…more clicks and treats. Gracie is so responsive to the clicker that she quickly understood that she was getting treats for staying standing.

After a bit, I starting saying “stand” as she stood and got her treats. Once she seemed to get that, I had her sit, said stand, but she wasn’t quite getting it. (Plus I was moving through this too quickly…impatient soul that I am. Gracie learns so quickly that I am spoiled.) So I added her old hand signal – my hand near her nose and moving parallel out as if I was pulling her out by the nose – and she put it all together. She responded well to the hand signal (without any treats in the hand), no longer considering it a game to grab my hand, got her treat after the click while still standing, and we are well on our way to mastering stand…finally!

The hand signal and luring were right, but Gracie needed a little more information first. Capturing what I was looking for was the clue she needed.

Gracie is such a smart little pup, and one of her trainers told me early on that I would have to work hard to keep up with her. That continues to be the case. She makes me stretch, and that’s not all bad. Gotta keep those brain cells working at my age. And with Gracie around, that’s not difficult at all.

2 thoughts on “Gracie Chronicles: More than one way to train

Comments are closed.