Pause Table

Topics: Contruction  |  Training  |  Sit versus Down  |  Trouble-Shooting


For a dog that won't stay on the table, when training, set him up in a number of situations to see if he will break. Do you stand close to the table in training? Try putting him on the table and moving away. Turn your back and talk to somebody who can watch him over your shoulder to let you know if he gets up. Get somebody to count down from five like the judge, but then wait for a couple of seconds to see what the results you get. Probably you will have to reinforce the table-down command. Work on getting a reliable down from the dog before expecting him to perform one on the table in the ring. (David Hanson)

For a dog that won't get off the table, the handler should be very clear in their body language that they are turning away from the table. As in he/she should not be standing there facing the dog simply calling COME! Turn and move the other way, calling the dog. A moving target is ever so much more inviting! If it's still an issue then the handler needs to work on recalls away from agility. It can all be fun if a game is created. A reward of some kind in hand the handler should be running to and fro rewarding the dog for staying with him/her. If there has been an intensive table training period, then stop for a while. The dog may have noted which obstacles where food rewards are likely. Skipping it for a time, and focusing on other aspects of training can cure the problem. (Katie Greer)

Some things to proof a dog that is sliding off the table:

  • Put a motivator on the table--like a treat. The dog has to stay on the table to get the treat. Drawbacks include the dog staying up too long looking for the treat, or they start sniffing once the treat is removed and forget to go down.
  • Place the table between the handler and the dog. The handler calls the dog to the table.
  • Set up a few jumps heading right for the table (this gets the dog's speed up). Use an easy command right before you give the table command. Work on table/down right by the table. Then work on the easy command. Then shape all the behaviors together--easy, table, down.
  • Cut the dog's toenails real short and practice on a table that isn't carpeted. This teaches the dog to use its pads to stop instead of relying on the toenails.

(Sara Grachek)

If you train on a table that has a carpeted top, your dog may have problems when he encounters a harder slicker surface. A way to train for this is to attach a section of fiberboard slick side up to the table in practice. It is practically like ice, but the dog should learn to adjust. Also, if you are using a "table" followed by a "down" command, try timing the "down" while the dog is still in the air on the way to the table. In this way the dog is thinking "down" earlier and brakes as soon as he hits the table. (Kent Mahan)

Some dogs understand the table and do perfect downs on it everywhere but refuse to do so in competition. What happens then? Could be that, in the excitement of competing, the dog is frustrated by the interuption of flow and/or the submission of downing. It is not uncommon for a dog to completely space out, leaving the handler frantically jumping around trying to get its attention. After succeeding in doing so after many precious lost seconds, dog finally downs and the pair continue the course. So what has happened?- not downing on the table has been reinforced by being allowed to finish the course.

A possible solution to the problem is to simply pick the dog up, thank the judge, quietly remove him from the course and put him in his crate. For a dog that truly loves agility, not being allowed to finish the course is the worst correction in the world. For a medium to large proud dog, being picked up is the ultimate humiliation. After several of these removals you may find that your dog is quite eager to include downing on the table in his repertoire of tricks!
(Anne A. Smith)


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