I have been asked, quite often, to make a video about teaching the "stand still". I've thought about what exactly would be in the video, and come to the conclusion, it would be a very boring video. Because, teaching the stand still takes time. It takes repetition. It takes short lessons often. Watching something like this would be exactly like watching paint dry.
I'll share photos and a short video of what teaching the stand still looks like.
This is a VERY important first step to teaching the stand still. What are the rules? There really aren't any.
If your pony throws a fit when you tie it up, then you need to tie it up more often, for SHORT periods of time. I don't really follow a rule of thumb for when to untie them, but tend to leave them tied until they have all four feet on the ground for even just a split second. Then I'll untie them, take them for a little graze or put them away. I will repeat this quite a few times in a day.
If the pony is young, then keep these sessions very short and sweet. And, be sure to reward the wanted behavior with untying, giving a treat, or scratching itches/brushing, when they are quiet. Even if it's just a split second of quiet.
** DO NOT DRAW THIS OUT FOR HOURS AT FIRST. ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE DEALING WITH A FRIGHTENED PONY OR A YOUNG PONY. KEEP YOUR SESSIONS SHORT AND SWEET!!!
I can not stress enough how effective short, sweet sessions are.
Teaching the words, "stand still" in a context they can understand.
The above video shows one of the many, many sessions I do with Oliver every day. I keep these short, and sweet, and offer lots of rewards, for making a good choice. Mostly, he wants to interact with me, and will think and think about what it is I would like him to do. Some days he just walks away or is a bit too pushy. Then, I simply leave the track, and come back to try again later!
Use standing still for a purpose.
Posing for photos! My ponies completely 100% understand what a phone/camera is.
The below photo is of Oliver. When I held my phone up for a selfie he saw the phone and SMILED! lol!
When I am holding either (my phone or a camera) they will stand still, and pose, and pose. In this context, standing still has a purpose. I snap a few photos, then they get a treat! They know I NEVER take a photo without giving a treat. I do say the words, "stand still", when I do this. Believe me when I say, this perfectly translates to them understanding what "stand still" means in other contexts, ie; in cart, when I need them to be quiet while I visit with a neighbor on a walk, when I tie them up on a hike, when I tie them to the trailer, etc, etc...
Teaching "stand still" is many, many short sessions of simple repetition, with lots of rewards until it is so solid it becomes second nature to them. This is not a fast fix or a quick lesson. It takes time, patience, and consistency.
Keeping the sessions short helps you remember what you did last time, and keeps things fun, and interesting for them! Standing still can be boring if you try to cram too much in at one time, this can result in a sour pony, as well as a pony that doesn't 100% understand what is being asked. Have a pony that rears when asked to stand still? That is absolutely a result of the pony not understanding what you want. So, break things down, keep your sessions short and sweet and reward, reward, reward!!