Ambush after wait/stay

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Ambush after wait/stay

This is a discussion on Ambush after wait/stay within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; My puppy has a fairly strong wait/stay but when she gets her release command - she charges like a bull out of the gate. It's ...

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Old 10-14-2017, 08:24 PM
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Ambush after wait/stay

My puppy has a fairly strong wait/stay but when she gets her release command - she charges like a bull out of the gate. It's so obnoxious because she's an 80 pound lab/mastiff - so she runs into people, my other dog, knocks over tables, breaks things, etc. She'll wait as still as a statue but as soon as that release command is given - she goes nuts.

Ideas?
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Old 10-15-2017, 01:32 AM
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It's awesome that she's gotten her wait/stay command down! Have you tried body awareness training? So that she's aware of what she's doing while she's doing it. It might help her be aware of her surroundings too!
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Old 10-15-2017, 04:14 AM
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Well done for getting to the point you're at.

There are two common ways that are used to train "stay". One is where you return to your dog to confirm that he/she is good by staying in "that place", the other is training on the basis of "stay there until I release you to come to me". It sounds as if you are using the latter method and her excitement level is tremendous because she's "done it right" and is now free to move, hence your present situation.

I would work on the former because that puts you next to your pup, it then gives you the opportunity to teach other things. "Good girl" (for staying) ..."Down" (if she's sitting); "sit" (if she's lying down); "Paw" (if she can't do down yet);"walk with me", etc., and, in that way, you maintain control until it's safe to release.
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Old 10-15-2017, 07:25 AM
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Along the lines of ptolemy82's suggestion, consider when you reward. There are in general two ways to reinforce stays. During or after. Calm reinforcement (treats, calm, praise, gentle petting, etc. ) during a stay results in a more relaxed stay and mindset. Rewarding after results in a dog anticipating the release and builds excitement.

Both are valid and have applications.
I teach "stays" as the former (I also always return to my dogs to release a stay) and "wait" as the latter. This way my stays are for times I need longer duration and calmness would be beneficial. My waits are typically situations such as in a dog sport setting where I want anticipation and energy upon release to the next behavior (an "explosive release"). Start line stays/waits for agility for example. Or in my sport, treibball - the wait behind the point ball then released to drive in the first ball.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:51 AM
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It really happens the most after wait. She waits to get out of her crate and then rushes out. She waits for her food and then attacks it. Last night she had to sit and wait for me to put her leash on before going out. She's sitting and waiting. As soon as I said "ok" she ran like a nut, fell down, slid into the door and broke a metal bar on the bottom. She's a 2 year old lab and her level of nuttiness is off the chain.
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Old 10-15-2017, 01:28 PM
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Haven't yet worked out how to quote you in my reply, I'll work it out one day!

It sounds as though she's taught herself that when she's released, she thinks something on the lines of "All these things are so exciting, I just have to get there as soon as I can."

She's taught herself this.

In your position, I'd help her to teach herself to do something different.

When I say "stand still, say nothing", what I mean is "Don't give a clue as to what you want". Most dogs will start to go through their repertoire and offer various things to see what works. When you get what you want (sit, down, etc.) you proceed. Dog starts to work out "if I do this, then this happens", in other words, she starts to teach herself what you would like her to do.

And, bear in mind Kmes's comment "Calm reinforcement (treats, calm, praise, gentle petting, etc. ) during a stay results in a more relaxed stay and mindset."

And...manage your environment

How about...

(You'll need to ensure you have time to do this. If you're on a tight schedule, don't start it.)

"She waits to get out of her crate and then rushes out."

Go to her crate and stand still, say nothing, wait for her to sit/lie down. If she's doing neither, wait 2 minutes, stand still, say nothing. If she's still standing, walk away.

Give it 5 minutes and try again - Go to her crate... keep going until she either sits or lies down.

Reach forward to undo the crate. If she goes to a stand, make sure crate is shut and move back. Try this three times. If she continues, walk away.

Give it 5 minutes, start over - Go to her crate...

When you can undo the bolt on the crate and she's still lying down or sitting, open the door about an inch. If she stands, shut the door. If she sits/lies down, go again. Three times in total, if she continues, shut the door, bolt it, walk away. Give it 5 minutes, start again.

The steps are then, open the door 6 inches, 12 inches, fully. Take one step away, take 2 steps away, invite her to come to you and sit. Tell her she's good, slowly get up and move towards what you want her to do.

When you shut the door, be careful not to trap/catch her paw!

"She waits for her food and then attacks it."

Sit down next to her whilst she is waiting. Tell her how good she is for waiting and feed her by hand, slowly. She gets nothing out of the bowl by herself. If she gets pushy, stand up with the bowl, put it on the kitchen counter and stand still, say nothing. When she sits/lies down, start again. Sit next to her...

An alternative

I feed my dogs outside. When I first got Stella, (rescue rottie, had her about 4 months, loves her food) she would charge out as soon as she thought food was about (whether it was hers or not). I fed her by hand to begin with and she's now progressed.

She sits when I get her food ready and we both walk slowly outside with the bowl. If she moves ahead of me, I take two steps back (the lesson is...you rush and your food bowl goes backwards - eek! Quick, go back to where the food bowl is!). She sits, I put her food down, I signal to her to go and get it (maybe 18 inches away - managing the environment). There's no need for her to charge, there's not much space for her to charge.

If she has a problem on any day, i.e., I have to take 2 steps back more than twice, I'll take her in and feed her inside, by hand. I don't subscribe to NILIF.


"As soon as I said "ok" she ran like a nut"

Ditch "ok" for the time being, she sees it as a signal to be "the wild child".

Take the lead off, give it 5 minutes and start again

Start teaching her "Walk with me".
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