Whether you're in the obedience ring or just puttering around the yard, teaching your dog to stand on command can be fun and useful. Teaching this position takes a little more time than teaching "sit" or "down," but the end result is well worth the effort. Once your dog knows the command well, use the "stand" command for vet visits, personal examinations, grooming, therapy work or just to show off your pup's amazing skills.
Step #1 - Locate a distraction-free area. When first teaching a new behavior, it's important to work in an area that makes it easy for your dog to pay attention to you. Your location should be free of loud noises, moving objects, children and other pets.
Step #2 - Bring your dog to your training location and ask her to "sit" or "down." Take a treat in your hand, place it in front of your dog's nose and pull your hand directly away, parallel to the ground. This will help lure your dog into a "stand" position. When your dog is standing, give her a treat and praise her enthusiastically. Practice this seven to 10 times in a row for three to five days before moving on to the next stage.
Step #3 - Place the treats on a table close to you so you can reach them easily. You want them close enough to grab quickly, but out of your hands and not in your pockets. With your dog sitting, lure her into a stand position using the same hand motion you used when you had treats. When your dog is standing, praise her profusely and quickly reach over, grab a treat and reward her. Repeat until your dog stands readily with just your hand lure.
Step #4 - Introduce the hand signal for "stand," a flat palm that starts out in front of your dog's muzzle and moves away from her, following the same track as the hand lure, parallel to the ground. Reward your dog for standing.
Step #5 - Begin using the verbal cue "stand" along with the hand signal. Practice until your dog pops into the stand position with the verbal cue, hand signal or both. Take it slow and remember to reward your hardworking canine pal often!
Step #6 - Incorporate distractions slowly. Begin training in different areas of your house and yard. Take your show on the road and practice in parks, local stores that allow pets, and anywhere else your furry friend is allowed. Always remember to praise your dog enthusiastically for success. If your dog stops responding to your verbal cue or hand signal, she's telling you she needs a bit more practice in a less distracting area. Keep it upbeat, positive and fun and your dog will be bouncing into a stand in no time!
By Kea Grace
About the Author
Since 2001, Kea Grace has published in "Dog Fancy," "Clean Run," "Front and Finish" and an international Czechoslovakian agility enthusiast magazine. Grace is the head trainer for Gimme Grace Dog Training and holds her CPDT-KA and CTDI certifications. She is a member of the APDT and is a recognized CLASS instructor. She's seeking German certification from the Goethe Institut.