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One of the common questions about dog training I am asked is how to teach a dog to stand on cue. Now, there are a couple of different types of stands we can train our dog to do. One is a pop up that is a dynamic stand with the dog popping up with his front feet. The other is a kickback stand with no front feet movement. You can train both as I do, but to get started the easiest stand to train for anyone is the pop up.

Training a pop up stand is fun, and it’s just a combination of 3 games. Years ago I did a video tutorial on training the stand with Swagger when he was a puppy, which I’ve got below for you. I included a stand as part of my recent podcast episode covering “20 Easy Ways to Exercise Your Dog at Home” and now seems a great time to have the stand video here on my blog.

Training Stand is Fun

The first thing to do is get organized. Have your treats and toy ready, know where you are going to train, and make sure it’s a low distraction environment so you and your dog can focus on the fun of playing.

Step 1: Hand Touch

This step builds value for your hand. Present your hand out in front of you. Reward a nose touch to your hand by dropping the treat in the hand your dog has just touched.  PLAY with your dog to keep arousal up! Progress to raising your hand, so your dog is jumping up a small bit to touch your hand.

Step 2: Hand Touch – Positioning

This training is to assist with the action of popping up into a stand. Present your hand above your dog’s head so that he will pop up from the sit and land in a standing position. Reward while the dog is standing and then give your release word to get him out of the position. Play to keep arousal up! You may have to experiment with your hand position to help create the distance that the dog will pop up.

Step 3: Adding the Cue and Building Duration

Say “stand” before you present your hand over your dog’s head. The dog will anticipate the previous value building stages and will pop up in anticipation. Reward your dog in the standing position and utilize your release word BEFORE your dog breaks holding the stand. The release cue helps your dog to understand the duration portion of the exercise.

Troubleshooting the Hand Touch

If you are having difficulty getting your dog to touch your hand in step one, isolate the training. Make it simple for your dog by having your hand close. Reward any investigation your dog has with your hand. Then progress to only rewarding the dog’s nose going to your hand. If you are having difficulty with your dog touching your hand above his head, you may have to add value to this position by doing step one over your dog’s head.

Duration, Distance, Distraction

Your dog having a good understanding of the release cue is going to help with his clarity for holding the stand position and for you to build duration. Review my blog post on the 3D Model for Dog Training for key reminders on setting your dog up for success.

Have you trained a stand, or are going to give it a try? Let me know how you are going in the comments.

I’m still preoccupied by puppiness and have heard from so many of you that you enjoy the updates and photos, so below are the “6 weeks old” portraits with big thanks to John Hill. David decided to freestyle the photo-shoot and innovate a pose for the camera!

Today I am grateful for all the fun that goes with ensuring that Alexis, David, Stevie and Moira have the best possible start in life.