The first step – the “start” step – is to get the dog to sit, down on command, and stay still. The second step to taking that big step is to get him to stand up, and stay still.
In short we want the dog to remain still (in the center of the room) for the first couple of steps so he doesn’t get distracted and get up. I think that means we keep the dog on a leash during that first couple of steps so that the person can just focus the dog. This is especially important to do in your first session as the dog doesn’t have to wait until you stop the session to do something else with the dog. Just keep him still for whatever is happening during that session. I want the person to keep the dog under control for the first couple of steps and then move the dog to the first step they want the dog to take.
This first step – the “start” step – is just the first step, but it’s the first step, and then we go into a big step where he walks out of the room. The goal of this first step (which is often called the “begin” step) is essentially to tell the dog to start walking out to you. It’s the same as telling him to start “standing up” but instead of standing up, the dog steps out towards you. It’s the “start” step that gets him started on the long walk (or “start” and “stay” steps).
Now I like to start “walking the dog” a bit earlier. Once we can get the dog to “walk the dog” we should be able to see that he’s starting to get nervous and to start thinking about the big goal. By now we want him to be sitting down and to be a little farther from the person. For that walk we want to be a little slower than for the stand-still step. For the walk we want the dog to look a lot more at you. When he’s in the middle of the door we want him to look at you a lot more and think about what he’s going to say. Once that big step is taken, the walk can begin to follow.
I like to keep the dog on leash during the walk. By keeping him on leash the walk can proceed a little faster. This keeps him more stable (so there is less risk of him getting lost and getting distracted), it keeps him distracted less and more he’s just going straight to
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