Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs
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THE "PLACE" AND "STAY" COMMANDS
Sit tbe dog about four feet in front of tbe crate facing you. Press tbe bottom button and give a "Back" cast as you command '" Kennel." Release tbe button tbe moment tbe dog turns toward tbe crate.
Once the dog has been taught to "Kennel," the next step is to teach it to identify a mat or rug as its "Place." Having a dog that will stay on a mat is extremely handy. You can put the mat where you want the dog to ride in the car or boat. You can also put it where you want the dog to stay in the house, motel, duck blind or at the line.
The 'Place" Command
Put a mat or piece of burlap inside the dog's familiar crate.
From a few feet in front of the crate, command "Kennel." (By now, the dog should go in and remain there until called out.) Repeat this a few times to refresh the dog's memory.
Now, remove the crate and put the mat on a low platform where the crate was. We have found it's easiest for the dog to learn if the mat is raised a few inches off the ground. By raising the level of the mat, it's easy for the dog to identify exactly where it needs to be to comply with the "Place" command.
Start with the dog on the raised mat. If the dog moves off the mat, command "Place!" and guide the dog back. Release the button the moment the dog is back on the mat. It doesn't matter if the dog stands, sits, lies down or moves around on the mat. Just repeat the procedure until the dog will stay on the mat.
Now walk with the dog toward the raised mat. When you are about five feet away, command "Place!" and release the button as the dog leaves your side. If the dog leaves the mat without being released, command "Place!" and apply electrical stimulation until it's back on the mat. When the dog is on the mat, praise it and let it know how well it has done.
Gradually increase the distance that you can send the dog to its "Place," just as you did with the "Kennel" command. Be sure to practice this drill with the mat and platform in various locations. Phase out the use of the stimulation when the dog shows you it is trying to comply quickly with the "Place" command.
Once the dog is performing well with the raised mat, you can begin placing the mat on the ground. Repeat the above procedure, adding distractions, and working in several loca- tions.
The "Stay" Command
To teach "Place," start with the dog on a raised mat or platform. When it moves off the platform, command "! Place"and guide it back. Release the button the moment the dog is back on the platform.
When you expect to leave the dog for an extended period of time, it helps to use the word "Stay" as a cue to the dog that it will be remaining in position for a long time. A good time to introduce "Stay" is after the dog has a clear understanding of the "Place" command.
Send the dog to its "Place," then command it to "Stay:" Say it only once and walk away. If the dog should move off the mat, command "Place!", using mild stimulation until it re- turns to the mat.
When you first start using the "Stay" command, always make the dog stay in one place for at least ten minutes before releasing it. Practice this in the house, in the boat, in the car and in your duck blind. Also use "Stay" when you require the dog to honor another dog's work. Dogs that expect to wait a long time when told to "Stay" are less likely to break when excitement occurs because "Stay" has added extra meaning to the "Sit" and "Down" commands.
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