Your dog knows how to “sit” on command, the next very useful behavior is “stay”; the 10 most common uses for “stay”
1.Stay to keep dog from rushing out the front door.
2.Stay to keep dog from counter surfing in your kitchen.
3.Stay before released to eat meal you’ve presented.
4.Stay while you put on your dog’s leash and collar before a walk.
5.Stay at doorways when needed.
6.Stay prevents your dog jumping up on guests.
7.Stay puts your dog in a relaxed “down” during your dinner.
8.Stay to help teach your dog self-control.
9.Stay to keep your dog from rushing other people or dogs.
10.Stay to keep dog from getting over stimulated by any exciting situation.
So how do you teach your dog to stay? There are two kinds of stay, a sit-stay and a down-stay. The goal of the “sit-stay” is for the dog to calmly remain in the sit position while making eye contact and waiting to be released. The dog is required to hold the sit position even if he/ she wants to move somewhere else.
Introducing the sit-stay cue
Start by stocking your pocket with the dog’s favorite treats. Do not let the dog see you do this. Go to a quiet area that the dog is comfortable in. Make sure there are no distractions. Do not bait your hand, stay the dog’s name to get his attention. Once the dog is focus on you, face in front of the dog and say, “stay” and give the “stay” hand signal in front of the dog’s face. The “stay” hand signal is a flat open palm and resembles signaling someone to stop. After giving the signal, immediately drop your hand down to your side. Do all of this while maintaining eye contact with your dog. Count to 5 silently, then give the dog a treat for remain in stay, while the dog is still in a focused “sit-stay” pose, give the release cue. Remember; do not release the dog unless he is focusing on you. If the dog breaks the stay position. Decrease your waiting time to some amount at which the dog can succeed. When the dog is repeatedly successful with that current amount of waiting time, increase your waiting time in very small increments until you are up to 10 seconds of stay time.
Increasing the distance
Once your dog stays put for one step back and forward, you can increase to 2 steps. Have 5 to 10 treats in your hand, rather then ending the stay with treats, step away, come back, give a treat and repeat the exercise at the same distance until you given all 5 to 10 treats. Once you completed one or two 5 to 10 treats exercise in a row, you can increase the distance by another step. Or you can keep the same distance but increase the waiting time. The goal is to get back to your dog before he breaks the stay. If he gets up, it mean you went too far away or were away too long.
Once your dog have a solid sit-stay with some distance. Use a longer leash for safety. Put your dog in a sit-stay and starting adding some mild distraction like using a toy or friends walking by. At home, practice sit-stay while other family member knocks on door or throw a toy around where the dog is doing sit-stay. Remember each time when you add a new distraction, you should decrease the distance and time so your dog can be a success. Keep 5 to 10 treats in your hand and giving treats every 3 seconds while another person makes a distraction. If the dog can focus on you instead of the distraction for few trials of 5 to 10 treats in a row, the distractor can then increase the distraction level. Once your dog manages to stay focus on you with distraction, you can increase distance and time.