Teaching our dogs the stay command can be helpful when you just want to get some work done, or just need them to stay out of the way. It can be great for when friends and family are over, who might not be so comfortable with dogs. Situations can arise where we need them to stay in one spot, like in their bed, for example, for an extended period of time. Teaching the command stay is also about expecting your dog to stay put for as long as you need them to. It’s a valuable command for your pup to know, and should be a part of any training regime you have.
When training the stay command, it is not recommended that you use your dog’s name, or calling them to you, as a means to break the stay. If you avoid using their name to break the stay, they will be more reliable in staying until you ask them to break. It is also important that in your training you ask your dog to stay for at least a couple of minutes. If you ask them to stay and then walk away and almost immediately call them to you. They will be less reliable as they anticipate your immediate recall.
How to Teach the Stay Command
1. Start with your dog on a leash and collar/harness. You’ll also need yummy rewards. You can put your pup into a sit position for this exercise, but it can be any position really.
2. Place the treat arms length in front of your pup, but hold them back with the leash or by the collar/harness from getting the treat
3. As soon as they become calm and stop pulling to get at the treat, sternly say the command “stay”. Use a tone that is not angry and not the same as your praise tone.
4. At first, right away you’ll want to reward just being calm with a treat so they can pick up on what’s expected. After they start to get it, then you’ll want to make them wait before you give them the treat. You should increase the amount of time they have to wait before receiving the treat when they understand what is expected (being calm and staying put).
5. After your pup understands that he must stay and be calm for the reward to be received, then you will want to start creating distance between you and your pup. You can walk around while your pup is expected to stay. Correct them if they follow you with a “no” and repeating the technique.
6. Introduce the command “ok” (or whatever word you choose) as a signal to when they are allowed to break from staying by saying “ok” before your reward them with a treat.
7. Make sure you are bringing the treat to them, and not allowing them to go to you for the treat, as this could encourage them to think “ok” means come, and they will anticipate this recall and might break stay sooner.
Establishing a training schedule is really helpful in teaching commands. Whether you train for 15 or 20 minutes everyday, or every other day, your consistent training will be the key to success. You can always start with training everyday, and then as your pup gets better, reduce the training sessions. Then you can do refreshers as you need them, or when it seems like pup is forgetting the rules.
Training sessions help establish us as leaders and give us a some fun play time with our pups. It should be a fun activity, as anything done in frustration or anger is not going to be as effective. Our pups feed off of our energy and so you should feel happy and confident when you start your training sessions.