Now, the funny thing about this whole situation is that I never once doubted Jasper's ability to stay there. I didn't back away slowly hoping he would stay repeating "stay....stay...stay" the whole time. I turned my back and walked away. My "stay" wasn't a hope. It wasn't a request. It was a command that was not open to negotiation. If you know me well you know that I don't often issue commands, that often my dogs and I have a conversation about what we each desire in a given situation. But, when I do give a command, I fully expect them to comply. I make sure that I do my job of clearly showing them what it means and I slowly build up their skill. But, when the time is right I fully expect them to do their job of listening to me and complying. I don't spend my life issuing commands and thinking for my dogs. I encourage them to think for themselves. But, I also take my job as guardian seriously and feel it's of utmost importance that they can listen to me in a highly distracting environment because you never know when you might need it.
"Punishment may make us obey the orders we are given,
but at best it will only teach an obedience to authority,
not a self-control which enhances our self-respect."
Jasper didn't stay there because he feared me or because he has "an obedience to authority" but rather because he has self-control. And I know that he was just as proud of himself as I was of him. This whole experience has shown me that I really need to help more of my students teach this skill to their dogs. Their dogs should have self control and self respect too.
So, I will be teaching a class with three weeks dedicated to stay and three weeks dedicated to recall. It's called my Rockin' Recall and Solid Stay class. This class is coming soon so keep an eye out for it on my class schedule.