Teach Your Dog to Stand/Stay
ceebee Debbie McKnight/PetSmart® Accredited Pet Trainer
Proper application of a flea/tick preventative is important to its overall effectiveness, but as we Pet Parents know, keeping your dog still while you're applying it can be challenging. To help make this process easier on you and your dog, teach him to “Stand/Stay.” This simply means that the dog is standing on all fours and staying still or not moving his feet.
First we need to teach the dog how to “stand” on command. Generally I begin with the dog in a sit. Using a treat, place the treat right at the dog’s nose and slowly move the treat straight away from the dog, keeping the treat at nose level and parallel to the floor. The dog may try leaning forward at first, but will eventually have to stand up to get the treat. As soon as he stands but before he takes more than a step forward, click or say “yes” and give him the treat. If you’ve worked with your dog on sitting for a treat, this might take a little bit of time in the beginning, but soon he’ll learn there’s a new trick he can try in order to earn a treat. If your dog is lying down, the method is very similar. Place the treat at the dog’s nose and slowly move the treat up and away from the dog at about a 45-degree angle. When he stands, click and treat. Once he is standing reliably from a sit or down, you can introduce the verbal cue “Stand.”
After your dog knows how to “stand” on cue, we need to teach him to remain standing. In addition to being useful while applying flea/tick preventative, it’s also a useful behavior when bathing your dog or visiting the vet. To teach him the “stand/stay,” have your dog stand and then quickly tell him to stay. If he stays for even a half-second, click and treat. If you are using the traditional hand motion for stay (a flat palm in front of the dog’s face), I recommend making your hand motion at the dog’s nose level. Gradually increase the amount of time he stays before you click and treat. Once you get to about 5 or 10 seconds, the dog should have figured out that you intend for him to stay standing and not to sit or lie down. After that, your stand/stay should be just as good as your sit/stay or down/stay.
Since you will use this cue often for handling procedures, make sure you practice touching your dog while in the stand/stay and rewarding him if he doesn’t move. It can be a little distracting for them in the beginning to have someone touching them while they stay. With practice, they’ll have the stand/stay mastered and be a hit at the vet and groomer!