Human children go through this phase as well. An infant in an empty waiting room may be content to snuggle and coo at her parent's face, but ask the same child at six years old to sit quietly without toys or tv or something to do is a recipe for disaster. Or destruction. Definitely one of those.
|Stand stay on a log in the woods.|
Cute pictures are pretty much
the reason I teach stays at all
Knowing that this is a normal, natural phase of Kaylee's development helps me decide on a training plan. If I had an adult dog who suddenly lost her ability to hold a stay position for any length of time, I would go back to basics - I'd find an amount of time she could hold the position and slowly build up from there. I could certain do this with Kaylee; that's not a wrong plan. But it's also not likely to impact the eventual outcome: as Kaylee matures into a young adult, her ability to hold a straight stay will almost certainly come back on its own regardless of whether I attempt to retrain her stay now. Unless, of course, I screw something up. We must, of course, never discount our human ability to screw up our dogs.
With the understanding that Kaylee has a solid foundation, and in the interest of not screwing up my dog, I could certainly avoid asking her for stays for the next six to twelve months. That's how I handle fear periods. We hunker down, avoid triggers, and wait for the storm to pass.
Six to twelve months is a long storm. I'm not going to stop training. Instead, I'm going to turn on the tv.
Trainers often discuss stays in relation to the Three D's of Fluency: distance, duration, and distraction. As you see, duration is only a part of the picture; I can put it on hold and increase work in the other areas. Duration is difficult for Kaylee right now because it's boring. She's too distractable to think about being still for any length of time, so I will give her other things to focus on. Therefore, I've added a little distance to our stay practice - and a lot of impulse control. We're playing more zen, sticky feet, relaxation protocol, moving stands, and other games that involve holding still while the world happens around her. Of course, there's some duration here, but it's not out primary focus. These impulse control games will also come in handy for Kaylee's next developmental stage:
The dreaded teenager.
|Down stay with distance at TSC.|