If you’ve ever worked with dogs before, you probably know that “stay” can be a difficult command for them to master – and can you really blame them? Dogs are full of energy and always ready to go out and explore. Staying still is likely one of the last things they want to do! However, with a few tricks and treats – and a lot of patience – you can easily teach your pup to master this command!
Set Your Dog Up For Success
To get started, you’ll want to make sure that you pick an ideal environment for your dog to train in. You want to make sure that you set them up for success – not failure. To do this, keep a few things in mind when you pick your designated training area:
Make Sure There Aren’t Distractions
This is going to be one of the most important things you’ll have to keep in mind when training your dog to stay! Dogs are naturally curious – make sure they aren’t tempted to leave their lesson in favor of more ‘fun’ activities. Ideally, your designated practice area will be a quiet, closed off area in your home away from other pets and people.
Keep Their Comfort in Mind
If you’ve had trouble with teaching your dog to master the stay command in the past, the issue could be more than having too many distractions. What kind of dog are you working with? For example, if you have a small short haired dog, they may not want to cooperate with you if you have them practice the stay command on a cold kitchen floor. They’d be miserable! With a dog like this, a carpeted area would work much better.
What things you need
Now that you’ve got some ideas about what environment is best for your dog to practice in, you can move on to the training itself. Before you begin, you’ll want to gather a few things:
This is going to be one of the biggest motivators for your dog! Show them that stay can be fun by encouraging them with their favorite snack! Be careful though – dog treats can also be a temptation for your dog to leave the stay position.
Toys can serve two purposes in your training lessons. The first is as a distraction. Once your dog starts to understand the stay command, kick their training up a few notches by leaving their favorite toy in the middle of the room. This will help to test and track their progress.
However, toys can also be used as a reward for good behavior. Has your dog just given you commendable effort during your training time? Reward them by taking them outside to play with their favorite toy! If the toys are useless, you can consider using a dog shock collar to train your dog.
How to Get Started
1. Go to Your Designated Training Area
It’s time to head over to your designated training area! Make sure that you eliminate any unwanted distractions before you begin your lesson.
2. Tell Them Stay
Stand directly in front of your dog and ask your dog to sit or lay down. We’ve found that ‘down’ typically works better for dogs just beginning to learn the stay command, but ‘sit’ can also be used. Make sure that you have their full attention and show them the treat. Say: “Down (pause) stay.”
3. Reward Them
If your dog stays for 1 to 2 seconds immediately mark their good behavior by rewarding them! This will show them that good things happen when they listen to the ‘stay’ command.
4. Don’t Scold Them
If your dog doesn’t stay, don’t scold them or become disheartened. Not rewarding them with the treat will be lesson enough. Simply repeat the command and wait. When they do complete the command successfully, immediately reward them.
Don’t stop at just one successful completion! Make sure your dog is able to successfully follow the command multiple times before you move on to other activities. We recommend practicing with them for at least 5 minutes every day. Don’t make their training too intense though – anything over 10 minutes will be too exhausting for your pup.
6. Try Different Locations
Is your pet doing great in your designated training area? Kick it up a notch by practicing outside, or with another person in the room!
7. Always End on a Good Note
Always make your pet feel like they’ve done something amazing before they end. This will make them feel more confident when you have your next training session, as well as more likely to respond positively during their next lesson.
Practice with your dog every day. If you practice the command consistently, they will soon master it and be ready to work on learning more commands and tricks with you!