QCan you help with my six-month-old working cocker? It won’t do a stay and just keeps following me. I’ve tried using different words like stay, wait and sit. I keep putting him back to where he came from but as soon as I get any more than 10 feet away from him he just crawls after me. My mate says that I need to be harder on him because he’s a cocker. I’ve tried that but it doesn’t work.
AHOWARD KIRBY replies: Getting ‘harder’ with him won’t help; cocker, springer or shitzu, it’s not the right thing to do. When a dog is following out from a stay he’s probably not being naughty. Go back to basics; where the dog has got confused you might like to try food to reward him for getting it right. Using a place board or hoop as a target will help the dog to understand what he has to do.
Start by getting him to sit in the target directly in front of you and reward. Lean backwards, then return to an upright position and reward him for staying where he is. Over several sessions build up the distance you move away, one step at a time. Always return to him to reward, don’t recall him from a sit/stay at this early stage.
Be patient and it will work. It’s really important that you leave him feeling confident that he is doing what you want him to do.