How Do I Get My Dog To Stop On Command?

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Question submitted by Derek
I have been working with my 1-year-old German Shepherd to get him to stop on command. When I give him the command on leash, he will stop and sit/stay until released. When he is off of the leash, he does not do as well. I am trying to work him up to a point where no matter the distraction he will stop sit and stay when given the command. I would like for him to be able to do stop in case he tries to cross a road, or sees an animal to chase, or person to meet. How can I help him to transition from leash to off leash obedience? Thank you.
Terry’s answer
Derek, first of all, I’m so jealous over your GSD. I have a special place in my heart for them. The best advice I can give to get him to stop off-leash is to swing your right arm (assuming you are walking him on your left) in front of your body and landing in front of him  – fingers facing down and palm toward you – like the pendulum on a clock. This gives him the cue that you want no forward motion. When your arm crosses over to him, that action replicates the stay command with the added benefit of actually moving in front of him as a visual cue. Try that and see if it works or you. Remember that everything is harder for him off-leash. Practice in the house or back yard and get good results where there aren’t any distractions before you go out in the real world. You might also try clicker training him. There are some good instructional videos on YouTube on using the clicker to train, and it works really well. Good luck and let me know how the progress goes.
Terry Meeks is a dog trainer, APDT Member an CGC Evaluator in Pinellas County, Florida.  Find Four on the Floor Dog Training at FourontheFloor-Dogtraining.com and on Facebook.
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