Zak George is back to help you teach your dog how to “stay” through training without the pain!
If you have a particularly high-energy dog know that “stay” will present several challenges for both you and your dog, but that’s not to say that your dog can’t master this skill. Be sure to have your dog’s favorite treats close at hand. Many dogs are naturally attached to their parent (dogs are bred to be companions to humans after all), so be prepared to reward often for even the smallest successes.
Stay for a period of time:
I separate stay into three different training processes. We are going to start with teaching your dog to stay for a period of time. Begin with asking your dog to sit or lie down and reward him for completing the request. Once your dog is sitting or lying down, very deliberately show your dog your palm and say, “stay.” Not only are you teaching your dog a hand signal, but, you are reinforcing the movement with words. Instantly give your dog a reward if he stays put for even a split second. Once your dog is an expert with a short “stay,” slowly increase the time between when you say, “stay” and when you give him a reward. Make sure there is no movement during the wait, if your dog breaks the “stay” before you give him the treat, calmly say, “no” and bring the training back to a shorter time.
Stay with distance:
Stay with distance is the next lesson you can teach your furry friend. Again, your dog will dictate how quickly you can progress through this exercise, so pay attention and be aware of how your dog is handling staying with distance. Rushing through the steps will only slow the entire process down.
Begin by asking your dog to stay from your normal distance. Take a baby step (no more than a quarter of a step) backwards and immediately return to your dog with a reward before he even has time to think about moving. The trick here is to not pause when you take a baby step backwards. We want to focus on only one thing here, distance – not length of time. If your dog reacts well, increase the distance to a full step. Gradually increase the distance by a step each time and remember to immediately return and reward your dog. Repeat this exercise several times until your dog is completely comfortable staying with whatever distance you give him.
Stay with distractions:
Everyone knows the outdoors hold a plethora of distractions for your dog (and probably you too). So, we will start by having your dog sit inside near a door and then telling him to “stay.” Touch the doorknob and immediately reward your dog if he stays still. Even puppies can recognize that a hand to the doorknob often means an open door to the outside world, so reward your dog before he has a chance to break his stay. Repeat this exercise several times.
The next step is to open the door a few inches and then close the door and reward your dog. Continue taking small step by increasing the opening of the door until it is wide open and your dog remains where he was. If your dogs breaks the stay, calmly say, “No” while closing the door and return to the last successful step.
When you and your dog are on the same page and can successfully stay with the door wide open, try upping the ante by throwing a toy or treat out the door, if your dog can resist breaking his stay, give your dog and yourself a huge reward!