Training your dog or puppy to do an Emergency Stop could be a life saver and is a vital part of your four legged friend’s education!
As always when teaching, make sure you have your dog’s full attention before you start so spend a few minutes playing and engaging with your dog first!
Fairly large easily visible treats work best for this exercise.
Make sure the treat is thrown some distance from you. Right from the start teach your dog ‘STOP’ is a distance away from you and not right up close to you.
If you start to walk towards your dog and he/she moves, don’t tell them off but don’t give the treat either or you will be rewarding your dog for moving. If this happens revert to a bit more practice at Step 1.
Do this a few times, but as you progress give your dog chance to drop into a sit automatically before you start walking towards him to deliver the treat.
You now need to build up the time your dog will stay in the STOP.
Building the time is simply a case of giving the command and waiting before you start walking towards your dog. Build this up slowly like you would your sit stay.
At some point you need to try out your command when your dog is moving away from you. Don’t attempt it initially when your dog is on the run, do it while your dog is just a short way from you.
You may need to use your dog’s name at this stage to get his/her attention first. There’s never any harm in adding your dog’s name in before the cue word.
Remember always do some recall practice after STOP practice.
For junior dogs don’t use COME then STOP all in the same process. Keep your COME command sacred for now.
Take the steps above slowly and have fun with it. STOP is a great command to teach your dog. Train it well!
As with all the behaviours we teach our dogs, you need to train in lots of different environments so your dog truly understands the cue. If you have got to Step 2 in one place when you go to somewhere new you may need to start at Step 1 a couple of times.
Remember your training principles. Don’t increase two things at the same time. If you teach your dog to sit to the STOP in the garden when you go to the park take it back a step because you’ve added in distractions.
If you try something at the next stage in the process and it doesn’t work just revert back to the earlier stage and try again.
Build on success and remember it must be just one command to save your dog’s life!
In this exercise we work on a formal 6ft Recall with a Front and a Finish. This is a lovely exercise to work through not least because it teaches the dog that even though the lead has come off you and he are still working and have a task to accomplish together – an important concept!
If you’ve already got into the (bad) habit of removing the lead and immediately allowing your dog to rush off then it will be time well spent rectifying this first!
Proceed as follows!
1. Sit your dog
2. Remove the lead
3. Take one step back and return
4. Reseat the dog if he moves – even an inch!
5. Repeat until successful
6. Build up to five steps back
7. Play break
8. Sit your dog
9. Remove the lead
10. Take one step forward and back
11. Reseat the dog if he moves an inch
12. Repeat until successful
13. Build up to ten steps forward
Once you’ve mastered this you’ll be ready for this exercise which starts with the Backwards Follow exercise. You can then build on this to incorporate a short 6ft recall to the Front position. Then all that remains is to teach your dog to ‘Finish’ by moving around your right hand side back into heel position and put everything together.
Here is the exercise description: