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How to Teach Your Dog the "Stay" Command

How to Teach Your Dog the "Stay" Command

Teaching your dog to stay seated until released is a relatively simple command. Many trainers find it redundant and favor training the "Sit" to include staying until released. If your dog has trouble staying seated in the presence of distractions, you'll want to add the "Stay."  If he's doing well with the sit, you may want to only use a hand signal and not introduce a separate verbal command. Even if your dog stays sitting 100 percent of the time, a hand signal for stay is useful when your dog is in a dangerous situation, such as across a busy street. With the hand signal you will be able to command him to stay even when it's noisy.

Teach the "Stay Command without eCollar

Use this week to both teach the "Stay" and also to review and improve up the "Come" and "Sit" commands that your dog already knows.  Although most dogs learn to stay quite easily, remember that your dog has been trained to come to you, to stay near you or attentive to you, so this will not be instinctual for him. It's not uncommon for a dog to be a little confused at first.

Lesson One:

Start by calling your dog to you a few times, praising and releasing. Then call your dog and, when he comes to you, command him to "Sit," and praise him when he does. After a few successful repetitions, while he is sitting and attentive to you, hold up your hand palm toward him like a traffic director, and command "Stay." Take a couple of steps back while continuing to hold your hand up. If your dog stays, praise him and call him to you for a small celebration. If he tries to follow you, stop moving, say, "Sit" again, putting him in the position if he is confused. Again give the command "Stay" with the hand gesture and move one step back. Praise with, "good stay" and then call him to you.

Gradually take more and more steps and increase the length of time before you call him.  You may stop the voice command and use only the hand gesture if you wish.

REVIEW:

• Facing your dog in a sit position, hold your hand palm out toward him and command "Stay," then back away from him.
• If he stays, praise him and then call him to you.
• If he moves or comes toward you, command "Sit" again; help him into the position if needed.
• Command "Stay" both vocally and with the hand gesture and back away again.
• Praise him immediately when he stays then call him to you.
• Gradually increase the length of time and distance from you.

Teach the "Stay Command with eCollar

Your dog should be able to stay sitting even when you move a distance from him before you begin to train with the e-collar. He should understand the hand gesture as well as the verbal command and be able to hold the position for at least a few minutes. You will use the remote trainer to condition your dog to stay even when you are out of sight. Your dog will eventually learn to stay in one place until you return. As you can imagine, this is very useful in many different circumstances. For this lesson, you will need an assistant who is familiar with using the remote trainer. Solicit the help of a family member or friend and teach the proper use of the remote and its various functions prior to the lesson.

Lesson One:

Put your dog in a sit and give the command "Stay" both vocally and with the hand gesture and walk away. If your dog tries to follow you, have your helper begin tapping on the collar. Now command "Sit" again. The instant your dog sits, your helper will stop tapping. Then command "Stay." Your dog should stay. When he does, praise him and call him to you. Repeat the lesson until you can walk out of sight of your dog. Only stay out of sight for a couple seconds at first, but increase the time little by little over the course of the week.

REVIEW:

• Teach a helper how to use the remote collar.
• Put your dog in a sit and then command "Stay" vocally and with the hand gesture, and walk away from the dog.
• If he moves to follow you, your helper begins to tap the remote.
• Command "Sit" again.
• Your helper stops tapping the remote when your dog sits.
• Command "Stay" and again walk away.
• When your dog stays, praise him and call him to you.
• Gradually increase the distance until you are out of sight of him, then increase the time.

What if…

If your dog jumps up to follow you and becomes confused when the e-collar correction is given, go back to training the "Stay" for very short periods without the e-collar. Practice with your helper at your dog's side. Command "Stay" and have your assistant step on the lead to keep your dog from moving when you back away. Praise and release by calling your dog to you. 

If your dog seems not to notice the stimulation, you may need to increase the level. Return to working in sight of your dog but adding various distractions. Use a level that will get your dog's attention, but not hurt him.

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