So you want to know How to Teach Your Dog to Stay? I get asked by almost every training client, “So when do we teach my dog to ‘Stay’”. The “Stay” isn’t a word we say, it’s an implied action for our dogs. Every stationary command has a built in or implied stay.
Teach Your Dog to Stay
I ask the dog to perform a “Sit”, “Down”, “Place”, etc. and its implied they remain in position until released. In order to make it perfectly clear to the dog when they can get up from those positions, I give the release command of “Free”.
Some people are used to using the word “Stay” and/or putting up their hand (palm facing the dog) while they say “Stay”. I think that’s redundant and useless. From the dog’s perspective, they don’t know any difference. If it comes naturally to you to say “Stay” and put up your hand, that’s fine. Just make sure you do that on every single repetition.
If you prefer to do as I do, and use an implied stay, that’s great. Whichever way you choose to train your dog, make sure you give them a “Free” command which lets them know they are able to get up from the stationary position. As always, remember that consistency, clarity, and small incremental progressions are the recipe for a well-trained dog.
Now that you have determined whether to use an actual “Stay” command, make sure you understand the importance of the Three D’s of Dog Training.
As you try to develop greater Distance, Duration (Stay), and Distractions with your dog, it’s inevitable that your dog won’t stay, and will prematurely break the before you give the release command. That is an inevitable part of the training process. Make sure you apply the Rule of Three, so you are setting you and your dog up for success.