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Teaching Your Dog To Stay

 Teaching Your Dog To Stay

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Once you have taught your dog the basic obedience commands of sit, lie down, and come, you will need to work on the stay command.  For some dogs, this command comes easy and for others it is quite difficult.  As the owner, you can help your dog learn to stay when given the command by being positive.  This means giving him praise and on occasion, a special treat to reinforce that what he did was great.

Remember, you should never try to teach a dog to stay until he has mastered the sit command.  Going in this order will make the process much easier for him and overall, more successful.  Typically, the average dog can learn the stay command in about two weeks, as long as he goes through about two sessions every day.  Just be patient and do not give up.

First, we recommend you purchase a clicker for this and some of the more challenging obedience commands.  Then, you will need to have your dog sit.  Make sure there are no distractions around as in other pets, children, passersby, and so on.  Next, with the dog in the sitting position for about three seconds, click and give him a treat.  Get him back in the standing position, again giving the sit command.  This time, have him sit for about six seconds, click, and offer a treat.  Continue this pattern for about five minutes, not going over 10 seconds.

Once you have reached the 10-second sit time, place your hand with palms down while saying, “stay” in a firm voice.  Then, as he stays seated, give him praise, and again, a small treat.  As you did before, start increasing the amount of time.  Then, when your dog stays after the 10-second rule, use the clicker and offer praise.  The goal is to teach the dog that he needs to stay until you tell him otherwise.  By switching time around and using the clicker at different times, he has no idea of when it has been long enough, exactly what you want.

Remember, you will need to start moving away from the dog, only one foot at a time while telling him to stay.  At first, he will want to follow you but put your hand out and give him the command.  When he obeys, give him praise.  Then, move another foot away, again going through the same process.  At the point when you can walk across the room without your dog following, return to him and offer praise.  At this point, you would start lengthening the distance and time.

You will find that most dogs do well with the sit / stay command but if you have a dog that is having trouble, remain confident.  Do not over train the dog, which can cause frustration for you and confusion for him.  Instead, stick to the 10 minutes a day rule, going through training every day until he finally connects, and he will.  Once your dog is confident in staying, then you can eliminate the treat and clicker, simply using the hand signal.  After you feel comfortable with his newfound command, you can then move on to other commands and even taking time to teach him tricks.