Out of Sight Stays
From Vivian Bregman, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Remember when you first started doing stays??? You worked up time before distance. Same principle. Do five-minute sits and seven-minute downs. Then go out-of-sight for five seconds and back, and out and back etc., etc., etc. Work up to 5-minute out-of-sight sits --- remember that the time starts when you leave the dog and ends when the judge calls you back. This could add another minute to the time.
From Judith Byron, (email@example.com)
Have a friend stand in heel position and feed the dog continuously while you go out and return. Then have the friend leave the dog and return to the dog randomly and feed while you go out of sight and return. The friend stays with the dog. Then have a stranger feed the dog *randomly* while you go out and return at random intervals. It is really important that the dog focus on something good, like the other people in the ring who will become judges and stewards! It is also important that the dog relax. Corrections only make the dog nervous and worried. If you have a problem, you are looking at months to fix it. If you are just starting, you are looking at months to get it reliable! No quick fixes, but if your dog will do the work, it'll save you a lot of time in the long run. There are few probems worse to fix then out of sight ups and downs. BTW, go to fun matches or run thrus and have the stewards and/or judge feed your dog. This can be as often as every few seconds up to once during the sit and once during the down. Good luck !!
From April Quist, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Very high-energy dogs can have a *terrible* time with stays. Not because they're unwilling to do them, but because they get so anxious to do what you want them to that they anticipate everything. In these cases, if the dog is going to break a stay, he follows the handler when they walk away from him. And you can't correct him except by taking him back to where he's supposed to be and *gently* putting him back in place.
Reinforcement with food can really help with these dogs, because you can reward him with treats whenever he doesn't follow you. For example, at first, turn and give him a treat as *soon* as you step away and he doesn't follow you. Gradually increase the distance that you walk, then turn and face him, give him a few seconds, then walk back and reward. At this point, start adding *minor* distractions (e.g. say "Good dog!"), and when he stays, go back and give him a treat. Over time, the distractions should get harder, and the treats less frequent until he can finally do a full 3 or 5 (or more) minute stay without breaking, with distractions. Especially hard distractions (like maybe a cat running across in front of him) would always get a treat.