Does your dog jump all over you and nearly maul you as you serve his dinner to him?  With a little practice, perseverance, and patience, you can fix that.

When you are fixing Poochie’s dinner, this is a fine time for having him practice a sit stay.  It may be a little challenging at first, so take each day to add a few seconds to his stay.  And work backwards.  That is, have your dog do a sit stay as you offer him his bowl of food.  That could be a challenge at first, but with some practice, the dog will understand he needs to stay until you release him with “OK!”  Or you may chose another word.

So how do you start this exercise?  Put your dog in a sit stay.  When he’s stable, deliver the bowl to him.  He will most likely get up, and when he does, take the bowl away wherever you are in the delivery process.  Then stand there until Poochie sits again.  Don’t tell him to sit a second time, though.  That will make the command less meaningful if you repeat it to him.

Once he sits, deliver the bowl again.  He will probably get up again, so repeat the process above until he understands he must stay until you give the release word, “OK!”  Then he can eat.  Some dogs learn faster than others, so be prepared to gently stretch your patience  in case yours is one that needs a little longer learning period to control himself while dinner’s being served.

With patience, soon your dog will become familiar with this routine, and you can extend the sit stay practice to a longer period.  This is what I mean by teaching it backwards.  You now have control over him while you are serving dinner.  So start the sit stay a little before you are ready to serve his dinner.  Each day you can extend the length of time he is to stay as you fix dinner.  Remember, in Open obedience competition, a dog must do a 3-minute sit stay while the owner is out of sight and a 5-minute down stay.  You should also practice the down stay with your dog and teach it in the same manner.  Back chain it just like the sit exercise above.

Remember, dogs don’t generalize, and they need patience and understanding while they are learning a new positional stay.  Down and sit, though both are stays, are different in your dog’s mind.  And that’s the place we need to reach.  This is a great way to exercise Poochie’s mind and impulse control.  So be patient, upbeat, and know that he’ll get it.  And then you will have a well-trained dinner companion when dinner’s served!

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