Instructor: Hannah Branigan
Hold on to your hats for the most exciting stay class you've ever seen!
Deceptively simple, stays are more complex than meets the eye. Stay problems can be career ending for otherwise talented and well-trained dogs.
Teach your dog to stay with proficiency and confidence. We will cover stays from start to finish, including group stays, out-of-sight stays, and honor stays. We will also work on strategies to train for the new stay exercises in AKC competition including the Novice group and Novice and Open Get Your Leash.
There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.
Registration will begin at 12:00 Noon Pacific Time.
For answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.
Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited.
If you are interested in a bronze level subscription, you can sign up at any time during the registration period.
For answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.
- Emotional States in Stays
- Reward Cues and Event Markers
- Release Cues
- Hand Zen
- Floor Zen
- Criteria and Shaping for Emotional State
- The Three D’s
- Building Duration
- Dropped Treat Zen
- Using Opposition Reflex as a Game
- Handler Motion and Returns
- Bowl Zen
- Adding Distance
- Spatial Pressure
- Buddy Zen – Make Judges and Stewards Part of the Game
- Out of Sight – Emphasizing Confidence Building
- Taking the Show on the Road
- Ring Routine – Leaving the Ring
- Combining Games
- Your First Formal Line Up
- The Leash
- In the Ring – Behavior Chain Components for Performance
- Honor Stays
- Games for Groups
- Unexpected Distractions
- Sliding Sits
- (Too) Happy Feet
- Anything else that comes up!
There are no official prerequisites for this class. However, we will not be teaching *how* to sit, down, or stand. Dogs will be expected to have some experience with the basic positions and at least the beginnings of stimulus control.
Reward Cues and Event Markers for Stays
Thinking in terms of Premack, what a dog does when receiving/consuming a reinforcer is a behavior in itself. So we have an opportunity to use specific cues with specific reinforcement plans. Of course, these cues act as event markers, reinforcing the behavior that occurs when the cue is given.
Having a specific cue lets the dog know what to expect and where to expect it. Because the behavior that occurs between the cue and the reinforcer is also being reinforced, it’s very helpful to our training to be able to control exactly what behavior happens during that time. Specific, well-trained reward cues give us that control and clarify the behavior that is being reinforced.
Now, just like anywhere else, you can use any cue that you want. The more important part is the behavior itself. There are many options for different reinforcement strategies, and you can use different cues for any of them if you choose. You could have different names for different toys or locations, etc. We are going to make use of at least 3 specific cues and reinforcement strategies for this class. I do recommend that your cue be auditory or verbal rather than a hand signal in most cases. We will handle exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
***In all cases, make sure to give the verbal cue before making any movement with your hands.
Stop whatever you are doing and run to me for your reward.
This is a relatively exciting reinforcer. The dog gets to move, and depending on the amount of movement, can get aroused. I use a click or verbal “yes” for this behavior.
You can split this further by using one cue for a tossed treat and one for a treat from the hand. For example, I usually click for a tossed treat and use a verbal “yes” for taking a treat from my hand. Either way, the dog looks up at me when I click and the physical motion of my body gives him information about where to expect the treat. Both are valid, but it is important to be aware of what information you are giving the dog.
To teach this, simply pair your event marker/cue with the reward. Move your hand away from the dog and step away from the dog slightly as you present the treat. This will induce the dog to move towards the treat if he wasn't already.
Just keep hanging out where you are, because I’m bringing the treat to you. This is the least arousing reinforcer cue. The dog has little/no movement and so will learn to just chill and let the reward come to him.
This one is less automatic and takes some training. As with any cue/behavior, start by teaching the behavior first before putting the cue on it. In this case, the behavior is "let the treat come to you", and we've already taught this skill with the slow treat game. So it's just a matter of adding the cue to the known behavior, and then generalizing to body position (both human and dog), other movements, environment, etc. I use a long, low "goooooood" to cue this behavior. I think a longer, lower sound helps generate a calmer state (check out The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell for more cool info on this topic), compared to the faster, higher-pitched "yes!" that I use for Take Out.
1. Start with the slow treat game.
2. When the dog is very successful, begin to give your cue just *before* moving your hand towards the dog to deliver the treat.
3. Vary the starting position of your hand. If at any point, the dog loses control, return to the basic hand zen until he is successful.
4. Practice from all three stationary positions (sit/down/stand).
5. Vary your body position so that you can be sitting, kneeling or standing when giving the cue.
Stop whatever you are doing, and go get the reward waiting somewhere. This cue is going to be primarily used with the zen bowl, or possibly with a toy on the ground. If you already have a cue for your Zen Bowl, you can use that here. We will use the distance and placement of the reinforcer to affect the behavior and arousal level we want.
This is a complex one, so the instructions will follow in a separate lecture.
Optional: Get the reward behind you
This is a cool one to train. While you can certainly use the same cue as for your zen bowl/remote reward, there is some advantage to having a specific cue for the dog to turn around and get a reward right behind him. It’s especially helpful if the dog does not know the reward is going to be there. For example, when training signals or drop on recall, I will often have a reinforcer handy to my person (say a treat in my pocket) and the judge might also have a secret toy. During the exercise, I might either reinforce by methods 1 or 2, or I might have the judge drop the toy behind the dog and send him that way. For a game like that, it’s very helpful to have separate cues for each type of reward so the dog doesn’t just spin in place confused. However, for this class, it’s totally optional.
A SAMPLING OF WHAT PRIOR STUDENTS HAVE SAID ABOUT THIS COURSE ...
I took this class to work on Stays...duh, but it has had an impact on so much more for me and my girl. Not just stays but lots about self-control (for her) and reading tells and expressions (for me). The class work has improved our stays but the work has also had a big impact on lots of other parts of the obedience exercises...the things that get better when there is understanding and self-control. I will definitely take this class again when next offered.
This course revolutionized my thinking about teaching stay. I had "successfully" instilled stay behavior in two other dogs through some traditional and pressure-filled methods. Teaching stay as an impulse control behavior was much more positive for both me and my dog. I don't see doing it any other way in the future.
Sensational!!!! Enjoyed this class very much. Thank you for all the wonderful information!
Really enjoyed this class. Very helpful, I think I need to spread a LOT more time teaching the stay exercises then I've done in the past. This class taught me how to do that, step by step. Thanks! Becki VW
Sensational Stays should win the "Best new class" of the semester! With stays being such a hot topic in obedience, this class shows a very systematic way for creating a confident, well-trained dog for stays. A must-have course for any dog trainer! Julie S
Hannah has changed my entire outlook on the approach to Stays and given me the tools for us to be successful. She is brilliant at breaking down each piece and providing expert feedback in an encouraging and supportive way. I highly recommend it regardless of where you are in your training! Ana C.
Sensational Stays is a great class, even for dogs who in theory have been taught to stay. I would love to have taken this course a lifetime of dogs ago: it is a wonderful way to teach the dog self-control, keeping their emotional state at a comfortable level, while engaging in a steady progression of fun games! Will certainly start my next puppy off with Hannah's methods! MC PS As I mentioned in my other review, you know you are hooked on Fenzi courses, when you check the forums before email or anything else!
This was an approach to Stays like I've never seen before, and really helped build a foundation for a solid stay, and taught us how to keep our dogs happy and confident in the activities. Thank you, Hannah! - Molly B
This has been my favorite FDSA course so far. It really broke down every possible component of stays into very manageable parts, and brought up issues I hadn't even thought of. I feel that the material presented in this course will help me in all dog sports as well as making my dog a better overall animal to live with. I can't recommend this course enough to ANYONE who owns a dog!
My lab Xena got her first open A leg last weekend!! Her problem has always been stays. I can't express in words how happy I am! Hopefully, we can get two more legs!!! Thanks Josie