Pet Tips

Tip 68 – Dog training – teaching your dog to stay

Once your dog knows its name and the sit command, another key thing for it to learn is the “stay” command. The stay command is used to make your dog stay put. It is extremely useful in circumstances where the dog might approach something it’s not supposed to. Classic examples are when someone rings the doorbell and people are being let in, or outdoors when your dog might want to chase something it is interested in, something like a skunk perhaps.

The procedure – Get a short leather or nylon leash and attach it to your dog. Tell your dog to sit and praise it with a treat. Then hold your palm out facing the dog and slowly walk backwards 1 step. As you are walking backwards, say the dog’s name followed by “stay”. If the dog doesn’t move, immediately praise the dog lavishly and give it a treat. If the dog moves don’t give it praise or a treat. Just bring it back to its original spot and start again. Gradually move back 2 steps, 3 steps etc. Say the dog’s name, “stay” and reward. Once your dog seems to be catching on, remove the leash and back up 8 -15 steps. Again say the dog’s name, give the command and reward. Then using the same sequence, walk around the dog and reward if the dog doesn’t move.

The last part of the exercise involves increasing the time between the command and the reward. First try a 1 minute delay, then 2 then 3 then 4 then 5. Once you’ve mastered this indoors try the same exercise outdoors in a fenced area. Teach this command until the dog has completely mastered it.

Extra tips

- Don’t overload the dog especially on the first day. On day one practice this exercise for 5-10 minutes only. It should be a fun exercise for your dog. The SECOND your dog seems like it’s not having fun, end the exercise.
- ALWAYS end every session on a positive note.
- Even after the dog has mastered this technique it should be practiced regularly.
- Eventually you can try to phase out the food reward in exchange for lavish praise.

Depending on the dog and the circumstance, sometimes instinct can take over and the dog won’t stay put when told. It is therefore always safer to physically approach your dog and hold it by the collar to make SURE that the dog stays put when the temptation not to stay is unusually high.

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