Laying Down On Point

By Jim and Phyllis Dobbs

Timid dogs or the time honored method of "setting the dog back" are the two main reasons a dog will start laying down on point. Regardless of the reason for the dog to lie down on point we can cure the problem is by reinforcing the "Whoa" command with the Tri-Tronics collar.

First however, we have found we can help prevent the problem from occurring, by using training methods that differ from traditional methods in two ways:

  1. During our yard work we steady the dog on a "Whoa Board." This enables us to "set the dog back" without going to the dog and physically putting it back. (Covered in our May/June 1993, Pointing Dog Journal column.) This enables us to immediately reinforce the "Whoa" command if the dog has to be told to "Whoa" a second time in the field.

    We have found this works better than setting the dog back because from the dog's perspective he has corrected the error of his ways by stopping when given the second "Whoa" command. By going up and setting the dog back he can become confused because in his mind he has complied and than he is corrected. This timing is late but with the collar the timing of the correction is precise.

    We have found that the dog will become staunch much quicker if; you don't set him back (of course without the use of a collar you must physically set the dog back to teach this lesson.) Once in the field it doesn't take long until the dog realizes that stepping forward leads to mild displeasure from the collar and standing still results in a pleasurable experience. The comparison is easy for the dog to make and the benefit of not having to set the dog back is substantial. The dog never gets the wrong picture as you return. He won't let down or lay down when you approach because he is worried that you may be coming to correct him. With our method when you go to a dog on point the dog believes it is either to style him up or you are going to flush a bird.

  2. Another way our method differs from the traditional method is that during our yard work we teach the dog to lie down. You should also use this step if the dog already has the problem of lying down.

    After the dog has learned to lie down we train it to stand up from the down position when it's given the command "Whoa." Then if the dog lies down on point you can immediately get him to stand up by reinforcing a "Whoa" command.

    To teach the dog to lie down on command we use a tie out stake and a rope. Tie one end of the rope to the dog's collar and run the rope through the tie out stake. Leave the dog by the stake and walk out the end of the rope Command "Down" and pull the dog to the ground. Repeat this lesson for as many sessions as it takes for the dog to learn to lie down on command.

    Next put the dog in the down position on the end of the rope. Then give the dog a "Whoa" command. If it stands up, great! But if you must give the "Whoa" command a second time use the Tri-Tronics collar to reinforce that command. Give him up if necessary. Use low-level stimulation and release the button the moment the dog stands up.

    If you teach the dog to stand up from the position down he will learn how to turn the collar off by standing up. Then when the dog lies down on point you will be able to remove that option from the dog by immediately reinforcing the "Whoa" command using the collar.

    If you try to use the collar on the dog for laying down on point, without first teaching it to lay down on command and then to stand up on command, you will flirt with causing the dog to blink birds. But, if the dog truly understands how to turn off the collar by standing up, blinking birds won't be a problem. All you have to do is give the dog the comparison laying down on point leads to a reinforced "Whoa" command, standing up leads to a bird being produced.

    When you approach this training problem by teaching the dog to down and stand up from a down position you can successfully cure this problem or prevent it from ever developing.

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9627 Spring Valley Road
Marysville, CA 95901
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