The Whoa Post is by far my favorite part of the Ronnie Smith Seminar. It is an amazing way to teach a dog to whoa or sit.
I told several folks today about the first time I saw the whoa post in action in it’s current form. I grew up using the “Delmar Smith Method” for teaching whoa. It was similar but it used a leather pinch collar around the neck instead of a half hitch around the dogs flank.
The reason the Smith’s changed it over to the flank was because of improvements in Ecollar technology. When the stimulation levels got low and you could raise them as needed it changed the way you could use them. That allowed them to use the collar on the flank.
The idea behind the Whoa post is that you have a stationary object with a rope attached to it with a snap. You have your dog on a checkcord. You bring the dog to the rope and run it between the dogs back legs. You tie a half hitch around his waste and attach the snap to the D ring on the dogs collar.
This makes a Point of Contact at the dogs flank. When you pull tight on the lead checkcord the dog gets stimulation at the flank. He has no where to go. He is stuck between you and the stationary object. He can fight it all he wants, but as long as you hold on, your dog is going to stand still.
Most dogs fight it at first, but quickly learn that the fastest way out is to stop the second they feel stimulation at the flank.
Once you have repeated this drill 30 to 50 times depending on the dog, you can move on to the ecollar around the flank.
It allows you to stop a dog dead in his tracks at any distance. Once you have this down, you can take the chase from a dog and get him steady on his game. After that, you can get him steady to wing, shot and dead fall. These are major parts of developing a fully trained hunting dog.
The first time I saw this technique in action was at a Rick Smith Seminar that I attended in 2002 in Pleasanton, TX. It was my first seminar since I was 14.
Rick was getting ready to start the Whoa Post and needed a dog that did not know what whoa was and had never stopped for anything. I had the perfect dog for him.
Ruby was out of my Em dog and Shadow’s Mark. She had more go than she knew what to do with and I had done very little work with her at the time. She had no idea how to stop or any good reason why you would want to stop.
Rick put her on the post and worked her through the basics. He then moved her past that and had her understanding the “concept” and stopping as soon as she felt the smallest amount of pressure at her flank.
He then moved her to an ecollar around her waist. He worked her out to a check cord toward a bird in a remote release trap. Once she got the scent and went on point, he stimed her around her flank. She stopped and held point. He then flushed the bird and stimed her again. She stood steady to wing.
The next part really amazed me. He walked away and left her standing there. Rick came back over to where we were sitting and talked a bit more about what he had done and how to go about training your dog this way.
I really didn’t hear much of what he said because I was watching Ruby the whole time.
There she was standing still 75 yards away from anyone. She had never done this before and she had nothing holding her back. At any point she could break and run. She had no tracking collar on her and I would have no way to find her if she did break. My only hope was that Rick knew everyone in the county and somebody would find my dog.
To make matters worse, about a thousand black birds started flying over her. Wave after wave of birds started to blacken out the sky. She watched them all, standing completely still with all four feet planted firmly on the ground.
I know for a fact that most folks at the seminar thought she was a plant. A fully trained dog that was brought in to show folks how talented Rick was and how effective his training would be on their dogs.
Rick finished up his talking and walked out to my pup. He grabbed her check cord and quartered her off like it a regular day and she had done it a thousand times.
Now we were not finished. I had to work her on the post and get her to fully understand the concepts and move her to the flank. It worked really fast.
I use this method on all my dogs now and it works like a charm.