Teach Your Dog The "Stay" Command

Teaching your puppy the stay command means that your dog should learn to remain in the exact position you left her in until she is released. This can be either a “sit” or a “down”. (You can substitute “down” for “sit” in the following article)

stay command

The Concepts: Make sure you are the one who controls when the “stay” is over. Your pup must learn self-control. The exercise is over only when you tell her “OK”.

Step 1 – Put your pup into a “sit” and tell him to “stay” while showing her a hand signal you will use for this command (flattened open hand, palm towards her face). Give this signal momentarily in front of his face and then step off to the side next to your dog.

Step 2- Stand still and silent for a few seconds and feed your puppy a treat while still standing next to him. Next, step back in front of your puppy and give your release command (OK!) and encourage movement so he understands that he is now allowed to move. Praise him calmly. Don’t encourage jumping or other rambunctious behaviors.

(These 2 steps should take a total of 5-7 seconds in the beginning phases of teaching your puppy this command)

Step 3- Eventually increase the duration of the time you are standing next to your puppy. Once your pup is in a sit, ask him to “stay. Calmly praise and give a treat. If he continues to remain calm you can continue giving treats every few seconds. She will soon connect being stagnant with the flow of yummy things!

Troubleshooting:

If your puppy breaks the stay before you have time to give him a treat you can tell him “eh, eh” and put the treat away. Start over from step 1. You want your puppy to learn that good things come to those who remain seated.

Make sure to never give a good treat when you release your puppy from a stay (i.e. – when your dog gets up from remaining calm and seated). The treats should only be given to reinforce calm, inactive behavior. Giving a treat upon the completion of a “stay” exercise would reinforce activity which is the exact opposite behavior we are trying to train!

If your dog doesn’t seem to be “getting it” after 3 or 4 attempts, take a break and try some physical activities. Go for a walk and try a training session after he has exerted a bit of energy.

Canine Manners 101 Training Series

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