Whether you just adopted a dog or have a new puppy on your hands, teaching “STAY” is one of the most essential commands for good manners. And here’s the beauty of it … with patience, it can be learned in just a few quick training sessions.
Keep reading – your pet pals at Oxyfresh have laid out everything you need to help your pet nail this behavior from start to finish.
Step 1: Get in Position
Make sure your dog is calm and well-exercised. (Yes, this may be hard with exuberant puppies, but do your best!) Start by putting your dog in a sit. If your pet doesn’t know sit yet, you’ll want to master that command before teaching stay.
(Note: make sure your dog is comfortable. Cold, wet sidewalk = not a good place to practice.)
Step 2: Reward Your Pet’s Attention
Stand in front of your pet and put the palm of your hand in front of his face for a few seconds. (Think of a traffic cop motion for “stop.”) If your dog is still, reward with a treat and positive praise, such as “Yes!” or “Good Girl/Boy!”
Repeat and eventually add the word “Stay” as you put your hand up. As you work through this exercise, you’ll want to gradually lengthen the amount of time you have your hand up.
Step 3: Go the Distance
As you tell your dog to stay, take a step back while still facing him and with your hand still up. If your pet moves, get him back into the original position and start over.
If your pet stays in position, walk back and give him a treat while praising him.
Repeat this exercise until you can walk 5 or more steps away without your pet getting out of position. Then start going for longer distances, still facing your pet.
Step 4: Mix it Up
Once your pet masters step 3, it’s time to mix it up. Put your dog in a stay and then walk in a circle, walk with your back facing your pet, or do a cartwheel if that’s your thing. This will be super challenging for your pet, as he is going to want to follow you and join the fun. If your pet can stay, this is a true sign that he has mastered the command. Treat and praise after a few seconds, gradually lengthening the time as before.
Step 5: Make Sure Your Pet’s “Got It.”
Now it’s time to practice “Stay” with all the real-world stuff that your pet can’t resist: Doorbell ringing, toddler toys flying about the room, etc. Practice makes perfect! And like with any dog training, it’s important to keep training sessions short, sweet and always positive. You got this!