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Established 1925

Incorporated 1929


Table Training

Place the table on the ground for small dogs, or at 12" for larger dogs. Pat the table inviting the dog up on it, and reward when the dog gets there. Gradually back up away from the table as you begin to work on sending the dog to the table. Also work on calling the dog up on the table to you with it between you and the dog. Katie Greer

A fast sit or down on the pause table is important in agility training. Internationally, the stand is also an option as a table position. Keep it fun and interesting for the dog. Ask for one or the other before meal times, or before going out for a walk or a ride. Play chase games around the house while asking for a sit or down occasionally. Reward lavishly when you get the behavior you wanted. Later you can reward only for an immediate reaction to your request to build up speed. Katie Greer

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 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! Katie Greer

"My dog won't stay off the table!" Could be this dog has learned that cookies always await him on top of the table. Once the dog has learned the basic performance of the table the reward should move from the surface of the table to the hand of the handler. He only gets it if he does the table when asked, not just for hopping up there on his own.

Katie Greer

I have found that it is not all that uncommon a problem for dogs to dislike the table.  But the reasons for this vary, and the possible solutions therefore vary.

With dogs with sensitive elbows or bellies, like IGs, I have found that teaching the dog to down on a towel, then on a towel on the table, and slowly reducing the size of the towel works very well.

Then there are the dogs that hate the table because they love to run FAST and the table stops the action.  I have one of those dogs.  She will get up on the table and lie down, but she barks like crazy the whole time, and the barking lifts her elbows off the table, so no count.  We have wasted mega-time on the table this way.

In practice, of course, she is running silently and immediately drops on the table and waits in the down very still until I release her. Billie Rosen

Okee-dokey, here's my take on 'the table problem'. My dog finds it very stimulating to be running around in the ring with me, and he does NOT like to stop. This was exacerbated but my past body position, which was basically square on, directly facing him. I believe when a dog does that its called 'heading'? Its not the most calming of body languages. So I have taken a tip from Turid Rugaas and now stand sideways to my dog. I don't hover and I don't lean over him. I will stretch and yawn if needed. So far, so good, we have a down on the table again. Deb Locke

Try working for an automatic down if you are experiencing "positioning" problems at the table. For dogs who have learned that the clicker is wonderful, great! This will go much faster.  When you send your dog to the table wait for it to "assume the position" before rewarding. If you find that your time is at a premium, you can tell the dog to down, then click and reward. Do this a few times. Next send the dog and don't say anything at all, you have already given it a clue as to what you're expecting. Wait the dog out, it could take a few minutes, depending upon the dog,  but the rewards are worth it. As soon as it lowers itself into a down praise like it is the absolute best thing you've ever seen.


The dog will come to learn that "Table" means get on it *and* assume the position as a single behavior. If you are doing AKC or International classes you can bring them up to a sit or a stand after they have performed the down.  This will work during the interim if you are still entering trials during the re-training period. Gradually build up your training sessions so that you can work toward saying Table-down, Table-sit, or Table-stand, and you get what you asked for. Katie Greer

Quick Fold on Table. Here it is. I will be taking it for granted that you are working with a dog that knows some commands, and has been worked with some, and is familiar with the learning principle.  Clicker people, you know where and when to click!

First teach the Fold on the ground: with your dog standing in front of you, treats in your right fist, left hand empty and at the ready....  put your R fist on the ground between your
dogs F toes.  He will put his nose on your fist, when he does he will be presenting the front of his shoulders to you.  Gently place the palm of your left hand on the front of the shoulders and gently guide the dog backwards towards the tail.  Do not push straight DOWN!  Gently Guide!  Towards the tail.  Dog will relax and Fold backwards, without moving the feet, when dog hits the ground your fist magically opens to reveal the treat. Dog learns that to get the treat all he has to do is Fold. (Do not say down!!!!! No command at this time!)

Do this several times until your dog starts to anticipate and Fold before you touch his shoulders.  For most dogs this takes only a few min.  Then take your act to the table.  (If dog has never been on table, have him get on table a few times first)  Tell Dog "Table" then as dog is leaping onto table put your fist on the table edge opposite to the one the dog is jumping onto.  Have dog fold like you did on the ground.  Help him with your left hand the first few times.  When dog folds,  hand opens to reveal the treat.  Do this several times..  There is no other command except "Table".  Resist the urge to tell
the dog to Down!  Table = Down on it.  No other command necessary!!!!

After several reps the dog will be anticipating and Folding without you.  If not, do this. Hold your fist on the table and just wait,  test to see if the dog "gets it".  Most dogs will go down eventually, If not take dog off and do several reps and test again.  Don't worry about how fast dog downs at first. Dog will realize that the faster the down the faster the hand opens.

So now the dog, with the command table, will jump up and fold down with your fist on the table.  Now gradually fade your hand (over the next few reps) horizontally away from the table edge.  Your dog should now be folding with your fist level with the table but several inches away, without your help.

Next is to try to assume an upright posture.  First, gradually (over the next few reps) fade your fist to your leg.  You should still be in a stooped position but now your fist is against your leg.  If dog folds with this, start fading body posture to an up right position.

I can generally go from Folding on the ground, to folding on the table (without help) with me in an upright position in about 15 min. or less. Yesterday I had a Boston terrier doing it in only 5. It doesn't take long for  most willing and bidable dogs.

The problem is with dogs and old habits.  Once you have taught the dog to fold.  Don't accept anything less than that on the table,  It will take longer for a crossover dog to do it reliably.  Be patient and the only correction is no cookie, then try again and help if necessary. Dog needs to succeed.

After this first session or two, gradually require more and more from your dog.  Cookies only for faster folds.  Folds with you at a greater distance from the table.  Sending to the table to require dog to turn and fold, etc. Donna Anderson

For dogs that think sliding off, or bouncing on and off the table is fun, try placing the table up against a wall. Send the dog to the table and the "back-drop" will give the dog an additional cue as to what is expected. Since there is no other place to go these fun loving pooches will usually comply with what they were asked to do. 


For most dogs, just understanding what is actually expected of them as they approach the table will help tremendously. Teaching them that the table actually has an additional component besides just getting up on it will help -a down, sit, or stand. Send the dog to the table and add the additional behavioral cue. Wait the dog out, and when it performs what was asked reward most enthusiastically. Katie Greer