White terrier mix dog standing in a green field with a red collar on

Distraction in Stand

This set will teach your dog to “hold” their stand even as we present a controlled food distraction. You will start off by holding your dog’s leash in your left hand, along with two pieces of food. Break off a small piece of food in your right hand and lure your dog to the mat. Mark and reinforce your dog once they place squarely in a standing position. Be sure that you are holding the leash with just two or three inches of slack on the leash. Now drop one piece of food behind you, to your right side. At the closest point, there should be three feet between your dog and the food distraction you are dropping on the ground. If your dog holds position you are going to reinforce twice. Once immediately after you have dropped the food. And a second time after you have bent over to pick up the food on the ground.

Repeat this a second time on right side. Reinforce if your dog remains on the mat with the food falling to the ground. Bend over to the pick the food up and reinforce again if your dog made the choice to hold position on the training mat.

This exercise will teach your dog that if you prompt them to go to their mat, they should remain in on the mat until they hear a release cue. Even if there is food falling from the sky, or if you bend over, or turn away from them.

Now switch the leash to your right hand and drop the food with your left. With each drop you are going to reinforce twice. Once after you have dropped the food, and again after you have picked it up. Do two drops to your left side.

Try to maintain a predictable rhythm to your reinforcement rate.

Deliver one or two more rewards and then give your dog a release cue, “all done.”  Give your dog one reward for popping out of position. Now allow for a one minute break. Remember to use a timer and to avoid the temptation to make eye contact, pet or deliver food to your dog during this time. This will encourage your dog to disengage when he or she hears the release cue.

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