Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The LONG Down-Stay Challenge

In an earlier post, barn crew member Catherine talked about the usefulness of the "go to place" command. Another useful command for your pooch to master that goes hand-in-hand with the "go to place" command is - the "LONG Down-Stay".

If you enjoy meeting friends at outdoor cafes that allow well behaved pooches, then mastery of these two commands can make it possible for your beloved pet to participate too. Free outdoor concerts, picnics in the park, chats with the neighbors, and even having visitors in the home - all of these activities can also include your pooch if he or she has mastered the "LONG Down-Stay" challenge. And as your pooch learns to master this challenge, you can extend the time until he or she is able to maintain the position even up to an hour or more.

The barn dogs recently took the "LONG Down-Stay" challenge with some photo-worthy results. Since there was a lot still to do that evening, we set the goal at five minutes.

First up - Captain Spanky.

Nice form, great eye contact. The Captain stayed in position for the full five minutes of this exercise. All that practice during his vacation really shows here - great job Spanklestein!

But OK, the Spankster is a mellow kinda guy so let's see how well this goes with our more active girls.

Next up to the mat, the ever wiggly oh so cute, Patsy the Pup - let's see how she manages.

Well O.K - she is down, she is staying, and she hung in there (barely) for the full five minutes. BUT, little Patsy's attention wandered everywhere! She looked at the ants on the porch, she saw a grasshopper in the grass, she had to look at something that flew by, she wiggled and squiggled on the mat while still in the down position - but by golly, she made it!

Then came pretty little Jondi.

A 5 minute long down-stay? No problem for this red-head!

But hmmmm - what's that I see? Yes, we have a creeper! This clever girl stayed down but began to slowly creep forward. Jondi spent most of the time wistfully gazing into the yard at something much more interesting. But hey, she did it...and this isn't about form, right?

Last pooch to the mat is sweet Star - our energetic bouncy tomboy.

Do you see that look of concentration as Star prepares for this challenge? The furrowed brow and poised paws?

OK, here we go!

Look at that form!

Look at that focus!

Check out that shy smile of pride as Star maintains her position for the full five minutes!!!

Well done, Star - well done.

And just to prove that she mastered this command, here's another pic of Star doing an additional bonus three minutes.

You go girl! Thanks for showing how it's done Star - stellar job.

Yup, all of the barn dogs earned their treats tonight - well done doggies, well done.


  1. That is fantastic makes me want to go back to working with this for my dogs. Now that the weather has cooled off here in GA I want to sit outside at coffee shops and outdoor festivals.

  2. When I first moved into my new house, 2 years ago, my dog Suelie used to go crazy at the bay window. My neighbors used to tell me it looked like she was going to come right through the window. After several months of calm assertiveness she now sits like a lady when ANYONE walks by the house. I never thought it would work but it did. I feel a lot better when I leave the house now.

    I really enjoy the fact that every day I come home she is sitting by the window waiting for me to come home from work.

    The neighbors have even commented on how well she behaves whenever she is looking out the window, especially when no one is home.

  3. That is so great! I think the down-stay is the most important command they've learned, especially living in the city. We can now go to ATMs, shop at the Farmer's Market, going to street festivals, and eating at an outdoor cafe. Our dogs are pros, but our little foster guy still needs to learn it. Plus, everyone is always so impressed, and they make amazing pitbull ambassadors, to see our guys doing a down-stay in the middle of a busy Chicago sidewalk:

  4. Great work, doggies! Special kudos to Patsy Pupcake--five minutes is a long time for such a little wigglepuss! I'll definitely add this to my dog's repertoire, especially since she's anxious and uncertain when new people come into the house. (We're also working on "say hello.")

    By the way, I started training her up on "look" a few months ago after you talked about its value when keeping a reactive dog focused around other dogs and it served us very well at the vet on Monday! She gets nervous there and I've found that asking her to do tricks and respond to various commands is a helpful way to control her anxiety. "Look" proved to be even more powerful and effective way to draw her attention back to me whenever she started to worry about some sound from a different room! Thanks, Bad Rap! My nine year-old gal has really benefited from learning the new tricks I've picked up from you!

  5. Outstanding! Love it! good job kids!

  6. Dear Bad Rap; Thank you for all you do. I live in the North East. I wrote sometime ago about my son getting a Pit Puppy (his lifelong dream) but was concerned about his "old fashioned" training methods. I have printed and sent as well as sent your video links, to him. It is slow, but he is learning!
    Anyway, my Boston Terrier is a rescue. Best records we have is he is from a bad puppy mill in Texas, evident by his birth defects (man-mad and genetics), was found wandering wounded in know puppy drop area called Coyote Gulch (yup, for coyotes to eat), then put in a high kill shelter and actually branded with the NO SAVE symbol. Well, he is one happy camper most of the time now. He is now almost 5 but is still so frightened of noise, boxes, fast moves, vacuums. Do you have any videos to show how to help? I did try playing ball around a vacuum with it off, till he wasn't afraid, but the minute it goes on, woosh! he is gone! Thanks for all your helpful videos, and Wody thanks you for his fav. toy, the flirt pole!

  7. I never would have imagined that reading about dogs practicing their down-stay could be so enjoyable. Well, it certainly was thoroughly enjoyable. Wonderful post, Anita! Jondi, The Creeper... Too Funny!


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