Why teach stay?
This is an excellent self control exercise as well as having many practical uses, such as: keeping your dog from bolting out of the door, jumping on people, and just keeping him still while you wait for your vet appointment.
Do this exercise after teaching “Sit” and “Down”
Teaching the Basic Behavior, Stay:
- Find a quiet place to practice and get your clicker, treats and dog. Cue your dog into a sit and instead of C/Ting right away, wait 2 seconds.
- Proceed in this manner until you can wait 10 seconds before C/Ting. Begin to use the cue “sit stay” (which really only means “long sit”). When you say “stay”, use a hand signal that is your flat hand about a foot from your dog’s face.
- If your dog gets up, this means you are proceeding too quickly. Say “oops” and try again with a shorter stay time goal and build up slowly again.
- Take one half step away from your dog and C/T for staying. Proceed until you can take 2 steps in ANY direction from your dog. Always return to your dog before C/Ting.
- Take several steps away until you can go out of sight. And work until you can have him stay for 2 minutes while you are in sight. (If you are very ambitious you can work on combining the 2 situations)
- Try all of this from “Down”.
- Vary the difficulty of each stay repetition. If the game always gets more difficult your dog may decide not to play.
- Reward your dog where he was when you asked him to stay. If you have him “come” after staying his stay will be weakened by his anticipation of the release.
- Practice stay regularly before giving the food bowl, before he greets someone and before going out of a door.
- Use the check list provided to keep track of your progress.
If you are having trouble, don’t get frustrated, just back up a step, succeed at that, take a break and then try again later (maybe with better treats).