Using Targeting to Teach Your Dog To Stand

Teaching your dog to stand on cue has many benefits including making it easier to wipe him down after a romp in the mud, bathe and brush him or put on a coat or harness. The easiest way to teach this behavior is by using your hand as a target to lure your dog into the right position and then clicking and treating when he arrives there. The steps to teach your dog to stand on cue might look like this :

1. Start with your dog in a sitting position.

2. Present your hand target and when your dog touches your hand with his nose, click/treat.

3. Repeat this until your dog is leaping out of the sit and into a standing position as soon as he sees the hand target.

4. Introduce the verbal cue by saying “stand”, pausing for a count of 5 seconds and then presenting your hand target, when the dog touches your hand, click/treat.

5. Repeat step 4 gradually adding more time between the verbal cue and the presentation of the hand target until eventually your dog anticipates the target and stands on the verbal cue.

6. Improve your dog’s response to the cue by mixing it up with other known cues so that he learning to discriminate between stand and other cues. If he falls apart at any point don’t be afraid to go back a step and help him or review a set of “stand” with the hand target before trying again.

As with any behavior you’ll want to take the behavior out in public as soon as possible to help your dog learn that he can “stand” anywhere no matter what the distractions. If you find the environment is too distracting for him here are 4 tips to help your dog be successful.

1. Move further away from the distraction.

2. Use a better treat.

3. Ask for a previous step or help the dog with a lure.

4. Quit and come back to it another day. It is better to quit and regroup rather then frustrate your dog or yourself.

Have fun training this useful behavior!

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