Improving Start-Line Stays – Step 1

This lesson is on improving your Start-Line Stays. Specifically, teaching your dog to not fidget, rotate, scooch, or otherwise break their Start-Line position. Start-Line Stays are very useful in dog agility, because they allow you to take a lead-out on course with confidence that your dog will continue facing the correct obstacle (assuming you train them properly).

For Step 1 of improving your Start-Line Stays you will want to teach a target behavior. We recommend using a raised target so it is more apparent to your dog if they break criteria. You want to use a target that is large enough for both their front feet, but not so large as to allow a lot of movement without them leaving the target surface.

As demonstrated in the above video, the handler begins shaping the target area and increases criteria to the point of expecting the dog to keep their front feet on the target and, ultimately, sit with their front feet still on the target.

If the dog fails by leaving their target before you release them, simply remove the reinforcement and give them the opportunity to offer the correct performance to begin earning the reward once again.