Beginning Basic Obedience Stay
· The STAY is a very important command.
· You will use it when in controlling your dog.
· There are times when it can be a life saver for your dog.
Stage One - Introduction to command.
· Beginning Position - Begin with your dog in a sit position along your left side with a loose leash.
· Command - Tell your dog to STAY (you may simultaneously use a hand signal with the command). If it looks as if your dog is going to break his STAY you may tell him to SIT again, then STAY.
· Hand Signal - Hold out your hand with your palm facing your dog (like you would if you wanted someone to stop).
· Time Period - Have your dog hold his sit for gradually increasing amounts of time. Begin with just a few seconds followed with praise then a release. Increase the time period a few seconds at a time. If your dog doesn’t STAY for the amount of time you wanted, repeat the exercise with a shortened the time period.
· Tone of Voice - Your tone of voice should be a firm command. The command should be given quickly.
· Timing of Command - Give the command once the dog is in the correct position and has held it for more than a second.
· If you have been working on your WATCH command you may find that your dog will make eye contact with you during his STAY because he thinks that is what you want. This is a good thing if he does this and you can smile at him to let him know that he is behaving the way you want him to behave. Give the food reward and verbal praise when he has held his STAY for the predetermined length of time. (Fido sits and you say “Good sit!”, then give the STAY command simultaneously with the hand signal. Count the seconds off to yourself, silently. Smile if Fido is making eye contact. When Fido has stayed for the amount of time you wished, you say “Good Boy!, give your release command then play with Fido for a few seconds and then repeat the whole process again.)
· Alternate Method - Begin with your dog in a frontal sit instead of a sit at side. Otherwise, everything else is the same.
· What Not To Do - It is very important at this introductory stage to not expect your dog to be able to hold his STAY for a long time. The time must be increased gradually just a few seconds at a time. This will enable you and your dog to succeed with this exercise from the beginning and also enable you to reach a longer time period successfully more quickly.
· End of Introductory Stage - When your dog is able to hold his STAY in this sit at side or frontal sit position for approximately 15 or more seconds you can move on to stage two.
Stage Two - Fine tuning the command.
· So after a few times of your dog consistently holding his STAY for at least 15 seconds you are ready to add distractions to the exercise.
· Your first form of distraction is for you to put you dog into position and give the STAY command then while keeping hold on the leash you will slowly move away from your dog. Whether you have your dog in the sit at side or frontal sit you should back away from your dog while facing him. Go out about half of the length of your leash, stop, wait 5 seconds, then return to your dog followed by praise and a brief release. (The walking away, waiting, and returning should take about 15 seconds so your dog should be able to do this, if not you need to go back to stage one.)
· After a few successful tries in a row try the same thing, but this time go out to the end of the leash. (This should roughly add 10 to 15 more seconds to the STAY.
· Once you are able to go to the end of the leash and wait at least 20 seconds you may slowly move side to side at the end of the leash. Eventually, you will be walking in a complete circle around your dog while all the while the length of time of the STAY is increasing.
· Repeat the phases in stage two until you can get your dog to hold his STAY for a few minutes.
· Gradually add other distractions with increasingly difficulty. (i.e. another person walks past and/or around your dog, another person calls your dog, another person holds a toy while walking by, you play with a toy, you throw a toy, etc.)
· Have your dog STAY while you move farther away. (You will need to do this using the long line.)
· Have your dog STAY in your house while you go around a corner or some other place where he can’t see you.
· Repeat everything on this handout, but have your dog in a DOWN instead of a SIT.