4. Stand Still (Stand Stay)

Exercise 4.3 - A Mind Game for Your Dog!

This is a really fun exercise for you and your dog, it's engaging, and it really gets him using his mind and thinking hard.  Exercises like this really help develop your dogs ability to learn as you further your training together.


We're going to take three items we have already worked individual behaviours with, the cone (or other obstacle you used in Exercise 5.1 when teaching your dog to go around something), a mat/bed, and a balance disk (item used for Exercise 4.1).


You need a verbal cue for each behaviour.

  • Jim’s verbal cue for the cone is ‘Check, Check’ (often used by agility trainers), you could use ‘Around’ or something else if you wanted to.  
  • He knows ‘Paws Up’ for keep station on the balance disk and 
  • He knows ‘Goto Bed’ for his mat/bed.  

If you haven’t already got a verbal cue for each behaviour (Go Around, Stand on the Disk, Goto Bed) then train your verbal cues first by saying the cue and then showing your dog your usual hand signal to him them to perform the behaviour.  Practice this until your dog can do each individual behaviour with just the verbal cue.


Note: in part of the video I use ‘Paws’ rather than ‘Paws Up’ to demo how your dog might react the first time they do this exercise if they are a little confused.  


The aim is to get your dog to really start thinking and using his mind to figure out which obstacle you’re asking him to perform.


  1. Arrange your three obstacles in a triangle
  2. Warm up each individual behaviour helping your dog with a hand signal as well as the verbal cue if you need to.
  3. You can also help your dog get it right by how you position yourself and your dog at the start.  If you are closer to or facing a particular obstacle for instance.
  4. You’re working towards your dog being able to figure out which of the three obstacles in front of them to perform just on your verbal cue alone.
  5. For the mat/bed and the balance disk don’t forget to use your release cue to bring your dog off the equipment before your next go.
  6. As your dog gets better you can arrange the obstacles differently and to make it harder still you could set the obstacles up in a straight line.

Even a super clever dog will find this exercise really mentally tiring!