Teaching your dog to stay is a hard but useful command. The key is not to rush through the steps.
Tailster Tip: Remember not to start the stay command with food in your hand or your dog will be very tempted to just follow you!
The first challenge is to build the length of time your dog can concentrate on not moving following your command word. Try to do this with minimal distractions to begin with so your dog has the best chance of cracking the command!
- Hold your hand in front of your dog and use your chosen command word (stay, wait, etc)
- After a couple of seconds of concentration, say your release word (okay, release, go on then, etc) and reward your dog with a high value treat (chicken, peanut butter, cheese, etc)
- Gradually increase the length of time before saying your release word and reward.
Once you feel comfortable that your dog has got the hang of the concentration element, you can start adding some distance.
- Repeat the steps above, but this time take a step back
- After a couple of seconds, say your release word and reward your dog with a high value treat
- Gradually increase the distance and time before saying your release word and reward.
Now it's time to put your pet to the test. Take them somewhere with slightly more distractions, maybe the garden or a quiet park. The smells and outdoor noises alone will be enough distraction! Don't jump straight to a hectic dog park or you'll be setting your dog up for failure!
Repeat the steps from stage two until your dog has a 100% success rate.
Once your dog is pretty reliable with the stay command, you can graduate to your regular walk or dog park with all the distractions you can imagine! Repeat stage two until your dog has cracked it.
Congratulations, if you've made it through the steps, your dog now knows the stay command!
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