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One of the most difficult behaviors for dogs to master is the “Stay.” This is a command that must be well-defined for your dog. This includes teaching the stay in several stages, as well as teaching the behavior in reverse, starting with the end and working backward for longer and more reliable stays.
Then give your dog a stay command, followed almost immediately by your release word and reward. You can step back, clap your hands, or otherwise engage in positive interaction to cue them that it is OK to move. Once you have successfully paired a release word with your stay command, you are ready to move to the next step. It is important to have a strong foundation with your release word, stay duration, and distance before you try and add distractions. Proofing for duration from the science of canine cognition we know that dogs understand if we are paying attention to them or not, no matter what the proximity. Practice this by asking your dog to stay while you sit, lie down, read, watch television, or cook.
How do I teach my dog to stay?
Position your dog as you wish and give your dog his stay command. Step back with one foot, lean back, then step back to your dog and release him. Next, take one full step back then return to your dog for the release and a reward. Continue slowly, adding only one step at a time.
How long does it take a dog to learn stay?
Young puppies have short attention spans but you can expect them to begin to learn simple obedience commands such as “sit,” “down,” and “stay,” as young as 7 to 8 weeks of age. Formal dog training has traditionally been delayed until 6 months of age.
“Stay” is a command that tells your dog to remain stationary where you place them until they are released. This can be used in correlation with a movement command such as “sit” or “down” to help the dog know what is expected of them.
By: Drew Webster, CPDT-KA “Stay” is a command that tells your dog to remain stationary where you place them until they are released. Consider teaching your dog a temporary boundary like “wait” or just praising a command like “good sit” until he is released. Step 1 Kneel down and hold your dog by the collar or stand on the leash to anchor him from getting to the treats (you may want to have him on a harness so he is not pulling against his neck). Eventually you will make it harder as you toss it up in the air and catch it, for other toys drop them and move them around or bounce a ball. If your dog is getting really good, hold the leash and tell him to “stay” toss the toy away from you in a throwing motion.
The “stay” command is an essential basic dog command that all dogs should learn. Almost as important as coming when called, the stay cue can prevent your dog from getting involved in dangerous situations. It will also allow you to keep your dog still and calm while you take care of household chores, entertain guests, or bring it to public places.
If you don’t have a backyard, a busy park is not a good place for this training, because there are too many distractions for the dog to focus on your commands. Try an empty park (go early in the morning) or ask a friend or neighbor if you can use a nearby yard for some peace and quiet. Keep it on the leash and don’t lead the dog into a dangerous situation by relying on its ability to stay, especially in a place with a lot of temptations. Once it seems your dog has mastered the stay command, try practicing with distractions like a squeaky toy or door knocks.
Three D’s: Duration, Distance, and Distractions
The first and most important rule of the stay is to have a definite beginning and a definite ending. This means pairing your stay command with a release word that signals that the stay is finished. Common release words include “OK,” “Free,” Release,” and “All Done.” Choose one word as your release word and use only that word consistently when the “stay” is finished.To teach the release word, position your dog as you wish, in either a sit, down or stand. Then give your dog a stay command, followed almost immediately by your release word and reward. Don’t worry if your dog does not move following the release word. You can step back, clap your hands, or otherwise engage in positive interaction to cue them that it is OK to move.Do watch out for these common pitfalls when teaching stay:
By: Drew Webster, CPDT-KA
“Stay” is a command that tells your dog to remain stationary where you place them until they are released. This can be used in correlation with a movement command such as “sit” or “down” to help the dog know what is expected of them.There are a lot of ways to teach a dog to stay, but if you want it to be an effective command the key is teaching your dog it is more rewarding to stay put rather than break a position.The biggest mistake most people make when teaching “stay” is teaching their dog to break that position rather than hold it. For example, if you ask your dog to “stay” walk away and call him to you, you’re actually teaching him to break the position you just asked him to hold. Smart dogs will begin to anticipate your release and the “stay” will be less reliable. Consider teaching your dog a temporary boundary like “wait” or just praising a command like “good sit” until he is released.“Stay” taught the fun and easy way simply rewards the dog for holding the position by bringing the reward to the dog and slowly adding more time to the length of the “stay” command. Rewards can be food, verbal praise, objects and play time. These are given when we return to release the dog or continually as he holds the “stay” command.
Kneel down and hold your dog by the collar or stand on the leash to anchor him from getting to the treats (you may want to have him on a harness so he is not pulling against his neck). Place the rewards at arm’s reach away out in front of him. If he is pulling and trying to get to the reward wait patiently. If he holds the position without pulling, calmly praise him and say “good stay” while you reach one of the rewards. The more the dog pulls for the reward, the longer they wait. Be calm and patient on the first few tries. Keep it short and sweet. Release the dog by saying “OK” and reward them with treats or play. You may need to do a few repetitions before moving on. The dog will begin to connect the behavior of staying with the reward. He will find it is more rewarding to hold still than to try to get the reward himself.
Stand up and hold the leash close to you. Say “stay” and toss the reward about two feet away. Wait for your dog to be calm and still. Then reach for the reward to bring it back to him (some dogs will pull and get excited when you touch the reward, be prepared to wait again or drop the reward and wait longer). When the dog is calm and staying patiently, release him by saying “OK” and reward.
Same thing as step two, stand on the leash at first, now toss the reward a bit further. Now you are going to have to walk to retrieve the object.Keep praising him and bring the reward back. You can release him and give him the reward. Encouragement is the key. He should enjoy learning to stay put because it is interactive and rewarding. Repeat this several times (maybe for a few days adding more and more time to the length of the “stay” command). If you are consistent he will be waiting to hear you release him by saying “OK” rather than trying to rush to get the reward.
Watch Now: How to Train Your Dog to Stay
Before you begin, you’ll want a dog collar, extra-long leash (15 to 30 feet if possible), and training treats that your dog loves. You can use this training on a dog that already knows the cues for sit and/or down. If your dog doesn’t know these commands, go back and work on those commands first.
Prepare Your Dog
Place the collar and extra-long leash on your dog. Eventually, you won’t need the leash for the stay command, but it’s helpful in the beginning in case your dog doesn’t stay. Also, putting on the leash and collar can become a ritual to indicate training will begin.
Give the Command
Tell your dog to sit or lie down. If your dog is excited or fidgety, you may have more success starting with your dog in the down position. Say “stay” in a firm, clear voice while holding one hand up, palm out (as if to motion “stop”). If your dog does not move, give your pup a treat and praise.
Release and Repeat
Release your dog from the command by saying “OK” and encouraging the dog to move. Instruct your dog to sit or lie down again and praise it when she or he complies. Say “stay” again with the hand motion while taking a step or two back. If the dog stays, walk toward it slowly. You may need to keep your hand signal in play. If the pup still stays, give it a treat and praise. If it moves, start over from the beginning.
Add More Time and Distractions
Repeat this process five to six times, gradually taking more steps back and increasing the time period between “stay” and “OK.” Once your dog can stay for 30 seconds or more at the end of the long leash, gradually begin to add distractions, change locations of the training, increase distance, and try leaving your dog’s line of sight during the stay.
Problems and Proofing Behavior
Do your training in an area without distractions. If you don’t have a backyard, a busy park is not a good place for this training, because there are too many distractions for the dog to focus on your commands. Try an empty park (go early in the morning) or ask a friend or neighbor if you can use a nearby yard for some peace and quiet. A common mistake is to assume your dog knows the command after a few training sessions and trust them to always follow it. Use caution with a newly trained dog. Keep it on the leash and don’t lead the dog into a dangerous situation by relying on its ability to stay, especially in a place with a lot of temptations.