There are a few different ways to teach a stand for obedience and rally. You can simply teach your dog to walk forward into the stand, but this will result in the dog being ahead of heel position. Many people choose to teach the dog a kickback stand, meaning that the dog’s front stays in the same place while the back legs kick back into a stand.
Teaching the stand is one of the skills we work on in my online class RA260 Get Ready to Rally Foundations! Registration is open until February 15th, so if you’d like to join, it’s not too late!
When you first start teaching a stand for obedience and rally, do it with the dog in front of you.
Luring the Stand
Some dogs do well with a lure to start. For this to work, the dog’s weight needs to be on the front legs. Bring your treat forward slightly to get the weight on the front, then move the treat back towards the dog’s chest. Here’s what it looks like.
Jumping into Kickback Stand
Many dogs will follow the lure very easily. Excel never did well with this method, and as you can see he still struggles with it. To teach him a kickback stand, I used the jumping up method. I taught him to jump straight up for a treat then rewarded him for landing in a stand. With some fancy reward placement, I was able to get very nice kickback stands.
Front Foot Target
Finally, you can use a front foot target to keep the dog’s feet stationary. For Excel, I started with the jump stand, then attached the verbal stand cue, then moved to the front foot target to clean up everything.
Your dog needs to have a good understanding of keeping the front feet on the target. You can see here how I was able to place the treat so that Excel hopped into a stand. At this point, I had already introduced the verbal cue.
Stand for Obedience and Rally in Heel Position
After your dog has a solid stand in front of you, you can move to heel position. Once the dog is in heel position, he or she will be more likely to look at you and swing the butt out. Working against a wall or gate, or on a stand platform, will help the dog keep straight. Strategic signal and reward placement will also help keep your dog straight. Be sure your signal and reward are given so the dog is absolutely straight, not curling into you at all.
Here are some examples of me working on stand in heel with Excel. I start by showing what luring a stand would look like. Then I showed how to transition a jumping standing into heel position.
Notice around :15 Excel lands crooked in the stand. Notice how I sidestep just a bit then reward him for getting in. If he consistently did this, I would be using props like gates and/or platforms to help him be straight. You can see in this session that his next rep was much straighter.
Teaching the stand for obedience and rally isn’t very hard; it just takes a bit of time and creativity to figure out what method works best for your dog.