Friday, March 19th, 2010...6:41 am
The Whoa Post
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
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
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
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
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
I knew that this particular dog had no idea what she was doing. It was
the Whoa Post – not the dog.
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
I use this method on all my dogs now and it works like a charm.