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Online Dog Training Lessons

The Stay Command

How To Build A Reliable Stay
IMPORTANT: The Stay is a behavior that you BUILD. There are three separate parts to teach when teaching the STAY command: Duration, Distance and Distraction - the 3Ds. You should only concentrate on one part at a time to be successful.

Duration refers to the amount of time the dog will hold the position. Start by staying in front of your dog while building up to a one minute stay. Increase your duration requirements by seconds only.

Distance refers to how far away from the dog you can go. Start with stepping in front of dog (nose to knees) and gradually add one step at a time away from the dog. When you begin adding distance be sure to shorten the duration accordingly. When you step in front of your dog only require about 10 seconds and build from there. Each time you take a step away, go back to a shorter time to be successful.

Distractions refers to how much is going on around the dog while heís trying to hold the stay. Be sure not to add any distractions until the dog will hold a stay for one minute with you about 10 steps away. When you do add distractions, begin with small distractions and build up to more interesting distractions.

As you begin to add distance to the stay command, always go back to a short duration and build back up to the one minute stay. By stepping away from your dog, you are adding more stress to the situation which might cause the dog break the stay. If he breaks his stay, you loose valuable ground and risk breaking down the behavior your are trying to build.

* Use the STAY in both sit and down positions.

* Maximum time for a Sit/Stay should be no longer than 3 minutes.

* Maximum time for a Down/Stay can be as long as you want him to remain in that position.

* Hand Signal. Open palm brought sharply in front of face while saying "STAY". Kind of like a "STOP" signal.

Begin by having the dog sitting on your left side. Give him the STAY command and STAY signal. Step with your right foot in front of his nose. You should be facing the dog and the dog should almost be touching your knees. You need to begin this exercise very close to the dog. If he begins to break the stay, it is important that you stop him from moving BEFORE he gets out of position. If you are too far away from your dog, you will not be able to keep him in position effectively.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Always remember to release your dog from the stay command. You never want your dog to release himself from the stay. That is your job.

How the "STAY" command progresses. Donít go TOO FAST
STEP ONE - Duration. How Long Can You Wait.

1) Begin by only stepping in front of your dogs nose. It is very important that you remain close to him so you can keep him from breaking the stay command.

2) Only make him hold the position for 10 seconds. When he is solid for 10 seconds slowly increase the time by 5 second intervals.

3) Work up to ONE MINUTE while in front of the dogs nose. Walk circles around your dog while he holds the stay so he understand that he is not to move, no matter what you are doing.

STEP TWO - Distance. How Far Can You Go.

1) Once the dog holds the stay for one minute while in front of his nose you can step back ONE step. NO MORE than one step. Go slowly.

2) Proceed as in step 2, and 3 in step ONE above. Go slowly. If you try to do too much too soon you will risk breaking down the behavior you are trying to build.

3) When you reach one minute at the new distance you can step back ONE MORE step (total of two steps)

4) Again proceed as in steps 2 and 3 in step ONE.

5) Continue adding distance until you are at the end of a six foot leash and holding the stays for One Minute.

STEP THREE - Distraction and Challenges. Stay No Matter What Happens

1) When the dog holds the stay for one minute while you are at the end of a six foot leash you can begin adding challenges and distractions.

2) Start slowly at first and gradually increase distractions or challenges.

Adding Challenges and Distractions
CHALLENGES - moderate to heavy duty

1) Slight tug on the leash while repeating the command STAY

2) Walking or running around him while he holds the stay

3) Stepping around the corner, out of sight while he holds the stay

DISTRACTIONS - moderate to heavy duty

1) People standing or walking around

2) Kids running and playing close by

3) Another dog or animal walking or running by
You can be creative by this point. Use distractions and challenges that he will have to learn to ignore. Once your dog will hold both the sit/stay and the down/stay for one minute with distractions going on around him it is time to begin adding more distance. You should already be at the end of your six foot leash. Now is a good time to use your long line for more distance.

Remember, whenever you add distance, you should decrease the duration and the distractions until he can hold the stay at the new distance. Eventually you want to build the stay command so your dog will hold the stay while you are out of sight. STAY means STAY no matter what.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Always remember to release your dog from the stay command. You never want your dog to release himself from the stay. That is your job. Never leave the house and tell the dog to STAY if you are not going to be there to release him. He will get tired of staying and release himself and all your hard work will be lost. When you canít release him from a stay, use the word WAIT instead. You can say something like, "Be a good boy and wait. Iíll be back."

HURRAY! You have just taught your dog all of the basic commands. Practice frequently and use your new commands in everyday life. The more you use them, the better the dog will respond to you.

Now you can go to my "Training Tips and Sample Practice Session" to learn how easy it is to keep your dog's new skills it top shape.

Online Dog Training Lessons
Introduction To Clicker Training
The Clicker
Sit and Stand
Loose Lead Walking
Training Tips

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