Kojack, my first UD B&T was purchased at 9 weeks of age from
a farmer/houndsman who lived in the north woods of upper
Wisconsin. When hubby and I drove into the driveway, adult hounds bellered and black puppies ran in all directions. We
had to catch them to look at them. Kojack bonded with me
immediately and although he remained apprehensive of strangers he was not fearful to the extent of fight or flight. He was a country boy and totally at ease in country surroundings, but the unfamiliar always stressed him. Cities, busy highways, crowds, noise, dog shows, training class were things he tolerated because I, his security blanket was always close by.|
When we began training toward the CDX I began making a game of the out of sight stays. When training in class I would walk out of sight with the rest of the handlers but then sneak back and hide behind: a large instructor or spectator, the band stand, a big cement post, the high jump, anything I could hide behind and still keep an eye on him. Sometimes I went out the door and watched through the window. The instant he began looking stressed I popped out from my hiding place or came back through the door with "hay silly, here I am". Training at home I hid behind the closest tree trunk, bush or the high jump. (I always left a crack between 2 boards on the high jump to peep through.) The instant he thought about moving I would pop out from my hiding place. Eventually Kodie became convinced that I was always close by even when he couldnít see me and he relaxed on the stays.
This method works so great I used the same principles during the training of Ben, and for teaching out of sight stays when I instruct class. Once at a show a handler who had a stressed dog who had broken the stays that day, practiced this technique at her campsite in the evening. The following day her dog got itís first CDX leg when it held the stays.