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Teaching Your Dog to Stay

Recently I have had a few inquires on “sit stay.” Below are some simple steps to teach this wonderful command.

Sit Stay:

  • Ask your dog to sit. Take a one step away from your dog and click. Then take a step inward toward your dog and give him a treat. Immediately remind him to “sit” and take step back. Then repeat.
  • When it is time for your dog to get up from the stay walk to either your dog’s left or right side. Then say a release word such as “okay.” As you release the stay walk away from your dog. Do not give your dog a treat after releasing him.
  • Gradually increase the stay time from 1-2 seconds to 3-4 seconds. Then to 5-6 seconds, etc. Practice each time interval at least 5 times before increasing the time period. C/T during this entire time interval.

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  • When your dog can hold the sit for 30 seconds begin to use the stay command. Then GRADUALLY increase the staying time to 1 minute. It is important to release your dog from the stay before he releases himself. If he broke the stay then you asked him to stay for too long. The next time you have him stay do the stay for a shorter time period.
  • When your dog will stay with you standing 1 or 2 feet away from him for 1 minute, it is time to gradually increase the staying distance. When you are increasing distance you will decrease the staying time (duration). Always return to your dog when releasing him (Do NOT call your dog to release him).
  • Repeat the same process but stand 4 feet away from the dog. Return to your dog to give treats and remind him to stay after each treat you give your dog. Only expect your dog to stay for 1-5 seconds. Gradually increase the time period to 30 seconds.
  • Now increase your staying distance to 6 feet and repeat “a.”
  • Gradually increase the staying distance until you reach the distance of your choice. 10 feet is great!

Johanna Teresi, Professional Trainer and Owner of Four Legged Scholars LLC

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