NERVOUS DOG? EXCITABLE DOG? REACTIVE DOG?
Stationing is when we ask our dog to get onto a thing and stay there for a period of time. Typically we ask for four paws up, but this can be done with two paws up, a down, a sit, or whatever is most useful for you and your dog. We use this a lot for dogs who need help being calm, confident, or focused while out in the world or when a lot is going on around them.
Teach it at home first. As your dog to climb onto as many surfaces as you can think of: a pillow, a couch cushion, a coffee table, an upside down pot, an upside down laundry basket, a planter.. you get the idea. You can lure your dog with cookies or shape it if you prefer to train that way. It is important that you don’t pull, push, or place your dog on the item though – the whole point of this game is for them to learn to climb on themselves. Pay them well! (Many Cookies)
ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE DOGS
Riker and Jubilee are both anxious in new buildings. Riker is a nervous guy all around and Jubilee, well I’m fairly sure she is worried that every inside place is another vet’s office. Unfortunately she has had way too many vet visits and is very anxious about the handling that occurs there. For these two dogs, we practice stationing, a strongly reinforced (lots of cookies) and predictable behaviour, in many different situations.
A go-to behaviour with a high rate of reinforcement takes their minds off of the ‘what ifs’ and teaches them that these uncertain areas predict fun things happening.
With enough practice, they will hopefully learn to look forward to heading to unfamiliar places as, more often than not, fun things happen there.
In a multi-dog home, stationing is a great skill to have to help dogs learn how to take turns, to help address resource guarding, to calm dogs who may want to wrestle when you have company over, to train manners around mealtimes and doorways, and for many other skills.
Look for different surfaces and textures. Frankie is practicing on rounded metal pipes!