The Stay command

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The stay command, along with the come when called command, is the most important command you can teach your dog. When taught correctly these two exercises will definitely save your best friend’s life one day. Last month we looked at COME WHEN CALLED. Now let’s deal with STAY WHEN TOLD.

When training your dog for this command, always start off in an area free of distractions.

With your dog sitting next you, give the command, “stay” and place your right hand with your palm open in front of your dog’s nose. Wait for approximately two seconds and if he remains perfectly still, say “Yes” and reward your dog with a toy or food reward.

Increase the time he remains still for up to 10 seconds. It’s a good idea to reward him randomly for shorter periods, now and then.

After your dog is rock solid for 10 seconds, in a distraction-free area, you can take him to other areas and gradually increase the distractions.

Up to this point you MUST ALWAYS have your dog, either at your side or just in front of you.

What I find over and over again is that people call and call their dogs, sometimes up to seven times and they might come in but mostly they ignore the owner completely. This is not the dog’s fault – it is always the owner’s. The dog has learnt that he always has a choice and that he does not have to obey you straight away. When training your dog in this exercise you must NOT give him a choice. Always use only one command and follow through with a huge reward when he comes to you.

When your dog is staying, with increasing distractions, then you can, with the use of a long line, start to increase the distance between you and your dog.

Remember always keep your training sessions short, about two minutes is fine and my golden rule for all the training I do is: “Small steps of success are better than giant leaps of failure”.

Now that you have mastered these two commands, STAY WHEN TOLD AND COME WHEN CALLED you will be able to control your dog in any situation and this will definitely save his life one day.

Article courtesy of Steve Austin.

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