Teaching your dog to stay calm and still on your command can be a bit tricky. To teach a dog to stay, your command and training process must be clear and defined for the dog. On the other hand, you will need a lot of patience and will to continue the training and eventually teach your dog to stay on your command.
How To Teach Your Dog To Stay?
Define Start And End Point
One of the most important things you need to consider when trying to train your dog to stay is to define the start and the endpoint of the exercise.
You need to determine the words that signal the start and the end of the exercise and pair them with the beginning and the end of the exercise.
For example, you want the word stay to mark the beginning of the exercise and the release word “Free” to mark the end. It doesn’t matter which release word you choose as long as you consistently use that word to mark the end of each exercise.
To teach your dog release word position your dog, give the stay command immediately followed by release command and a treat as a reward. However, don’t hold food in your hand while giving the stay command as the dog will instantly follow you.
Teach A Dog To Stay: Step-By-Step Guide
Now that your dog learned to associate release word with the stay command you can continue the training.
Dog trainers have a concept they follow when training dogs to stay. This concept is called the Three D’s. Basically, three D’s are Duration, Distance, and Distractions. Your dog won’t be fully trained to stay until it passes all three stages.
Duration is the time your dog stays in its position when you issue the “Stay” command.
Distance is how much you can move from your dog while he remains in his “stay” position.
Distractions are inevitable in real-life situations. Literally, everything can be a distraction to your dog.
Let’s start with the first stage of this training – duration.
- Position your dog as you wish
- Give your dog stay command (“Stay”)
- Count to three
- Give your dog release command (In our case “Free”)
- Reward your dog with a treat
Repeat this exercise couple of times and then start to increase the time you want your dog to sit. Don’t worry if your dog doesn’t manage to stay still. Simply, revert to smaller intervals and start again.
Now that your dog reliably stays in place for a certain amount of time, we can move to the second stage of the training.
- Position your dog
- Give your dog stay command
- Step back with one foot
- Lean back
- Step back to your dog
- Give your dog release command
- Reward your dog with a treat
Repeat this exercise until your dog reliably follows your command. Now, start to gradually increase the distance. It’s important that you don’t rush this, increase the distance one step at a time.
Now that your dog has successfully passed the previous two stages, it’s time for distractions.
It is crucial that your dog has already mastered stay duration and distance before adding distractions.
Literally, everything can be a distraction. However, try to start easy and gradually increase the distractions in different environments.
It can be a bit tricky to teach your dog to stay. However, with enough patience and commitment, you will eventually succeed. Remember, to follow the Three D’s concept and gradually increase difficulty.