Why Working on a Table can Help Your Obedience

I have to admit, if you have had anything to do with protection sports and read this… you are as worried as I once was.

In protection sports, a “table” is used for nasty and negative things.

I remember going to a trainer with a 6 month old puppy who wanted to agitate her on a table… I walked away.

This kind of training when you are talking protection or bite work sports is very negative and pushes a dog into “flight”.

So I have always had a negative connotation with “table work”.

Recently, while helping my students in my classes with “changes of position” I realized a table doesn’t have to be used in a negative way!

Isn’t that the truth!

Most things, even a buckle collar, can be used in a harmful way!

And,  I trust myself not to be abusive!

So I started having my clients use an agility “pause” table.

No tying them down or taking options away!

They were just to help their dogs understand changes of position.

To Explain

Changes of position are important in higher level obedience.

You must tell your dog when to sit, down or stand from a distance!

As easy as this might sound to some… it isn’t! especially when you try to put it into practice.

Most dogs will try and take a few steps in your direction first.

Which, in competition means points off or no points!

Plus, taking a few steps; means you can argue that the dog was not preforming the command.

Either way; it is best to teach the command without the extra steps.

A table takes some of the options away!

It can even help a dog lean the “stay” command.


Sometimes, training is all about conditioning.

If I am trying to get my dog to do something; it is all about trying to get him to do it right…time, after time, after time.

It’s not just for your hair ha ha.

Conditioning is the best way to approach behavior and make sure that it is reliable.

If you want to potty train your dog?

Make sure he doesn’t have an accident for days, weeks, months.

Following your dog around, getting him outside, and making sure he doesn’t have an accident “conditions” him to make good choices and stop having accidents.

The TableDepositphotos_29482573_s-2015

The table encourages a dog not to take several steps toward you as they preform changes of position.

After all, how often when you are working at giving your dog a command from a distance does he take a few steps toward you?

This is NORMAL.

I mean, where do we tend to work our dogs?

We usually work on training in the specific area around us, not from 6 feet or more away!

So there are two ways I help my dog.

#1 Tether

I tether my dogs to a tree or a pole and then lead them out the end of the leash and then ask them to sit, down, or stand.

Even if they try to take a few steps they simply can’t.

It teaches or conditions them that they don’t have to take steps or be near you in order to comply to your commands.

Although sometimes you have to slowly increase the distance (meaning not all dogs can function with obeying obedience commands from 6 feet away).

#2 Table

A table can also help your dog understand without taking the option totally away.

Now, I am not talking about a high table, that isn’t fair and isn’t safe.

I am talking about a table that is a foot or two off of the ground; like the agility pause table.

Some people use a “place board” and I use those too occasionally, I really think using different equipment can be helpful.

So if you are looking for help with some more advanced obedience, looking into integrating a table, it can be a simple way to help your dog learn.


Start Calming Down Your Over Excited Dogs Today!

Your First Lesson’s FREE:

Sign up below and we’ll email you your first “Training For Calm” lesson to your inbox in the next 5 minutes.


  1. k bowron says:

    Sounds interesting.Have never heard of using a table,probably because I’m in UK.Thanks for information so far.I have a rescue border collie who was apparently badly used,so he has confidence issues.He is very nervous of all sudden noises and wants to take off immediately.He is much improved since I got him but still had issues.He pulls as soon ad he is put on a lead .I don’t think he ever walked on a lead.He was just tied up in a farm yard and punished apparently when he didn’t do as he was told.I look forward to receiving the DVDs as well as the emails Thank you.


  2. Rich says:

    Chet, My 1 1/2 year old female Great Dane is trying to do what I have asked of her. BUT anytime she can slip out the door without her leash or long tie out cable on, she takes off and runs into the road, neighbors yards, or just gone. She totally ignores me and runs like she is in the Kentucky Derby! Help!!!


  3. Lorraine says:

    How about barking all the time


  4. janet amighi says:

    How about using a platform. Its very easy to teach a dog to love being on a platform or even a mat and it can serve many functions. Your dog can’t fall off, you don’t have to lift up, but it defines the boundaries of where the dog can go.

    There are also these great puppy gates that Staples sells as filing shelves. You can attach them together with wire and you have a baby x-pen very cheap.

    Or you could just start off with the dog near by and keep backing away.
    Its great training tool to have.


    Minette Reply:

    I prefer a little height


  5. B. Meng says:

    Great information. I will try this today, because we do have issues here.


  6. Johnna McFarland says:

    Thank you I will definitely try this. I have two golden retrievers. One listens very well and usually does what I say. Other younger one is a love but if he gets loose, he takes off and no matter what I say he just keeps running. We would love to be able to have the two of them out with us free in the yard but it does not look like that is going to be the case. The girl yes not the boy. I will try this and hopefully it will work.



  7. Darlene says:

    I have a Jack Russel rescue dog. It took only a few minutes to teach him to “go to bed”. I started standing next to the bed. Then I backed up about 2 feet and gave the command. I continued in that way until I was across the room and he would get on the bed. I had to repeat the whole sequence the next day. Is that normal? It did take fewer times the second day.


  8. Jolene says:

    How do stop a dog from digging holes and barking when you walk away.. How to stop him from getting so excited whenever someone comes around.


  9. Robert Zraick says:


    I just received a package from you with three clickers and a doggy treat pouch. Nice products. I was concerned about something which has turned out to be a valid concern.

    I have a remedy in mind and wanted to run it by you. I adopted this dog from a previous owner who was not able to care for the dog. She is a medium sized dog and about 7 years old.

    Her behaviors signals that she has been abused and punished in the past.

    I am working with her but think some of her past experiences will stay with her.

    I have a bug zapper at home. It make a zap or popping sound when a bug gets zapped. But that sound also terrifies the dog.

    I was afraid that the clicker would do the same, and it turns out I was right. I know I could try and train the fear out of her by using something like what you have suggested to remove the fear from a dog who is frightened of lightning.

    But the dog is so traumatized by the sound that I don’t want to put her through it. Not just to get so that I could use the clicker.

    My idea is to find another device, like a whistle or a bell as a substitute for the clicker in training. I am convinced this would be a better way to go.

    Just wanted to hear your thoughts on this.



    Minette Reply:

    Read this http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/dog-terrified-clicker/


  10. Diane says:

    George weighs over 60 lbs. kind of hard to get him on a table.


    Minette Reply:

    Dogs jump


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *