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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.

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