Outof Sight Stays

The last two exercises in the Open class are the three-minute Sit-Stay and the five-minute Down-Stay. Any of the Stay exercises are boring to practice, but are nerve-racking when you're in competition. So you do need to practice them and under various conditions, including in the rain.

As an introduction to Out-of-Sight Stays, follow these steps:

1. Leave Buddy in a Sit-Stay and go six feet in front of him.

2. Pause for ten seconds, walk past him, and stand six feet behind him with your back to him.

3. Practice with distractions and have your helper tell you when Buddy moves and you have to reinforce the Stay.

At this stage, that scenario will be highly unlikely. When you're ready to go out of sight, gradually increase the length of time you leave Buddy.

4. Begin with ten seconds and, over the course of several sessions work up to the three minutes for the Sit-Stay and five minutes for the Down-Stay.

If you experience difficulties, such as if Buddy's breaking the stays, shorten your time and rebuild the exercise. Nine out of ten times, the problem is your dog's lack of confidence, and that's what you need to work on.

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