Stay. It is one of the most popular commands that owners teach their dogs when beginning training. They use it when they don’t want their dog to cross a threshold, when they want their dog to hold a certain position, or to keep away from a person, object, or other animal. Does it work? Sure, many people have had success with this command, but is it necessary? Definitely not. Why, you may ask? Because it should always be implied.
It should be taught at an early age that thresholds should not be crossed without being granted permission. A dog should not be invited to walk out of a door, whether it is the front door to a busy street or your fenced in back yard, until they are standing still or sitting, calm, make eye contact, and you have given them the next command. In your yard or getting out of the car you may give them a release command, letting them go where they please without concern for their safety. Walking out of your front door, you may want them to stay in a close heel, whether on or off leash, until you reach an area where it is safe to release them.
When teaching (or re-teaching) the basics like sit and down, practice on leash, even when inside your home. If you place your dog in a sit and his rear pops off the ground, remind him of the command, give him a little leash guidance until he pops back into that sit. It cannot be expected that a young pup (or an older dog who has been previously trained with the expectation of a momentary sit) will automatically remain in a sit (or down, or any other position) without repetition and consistency. When starting out, make sure you set your dog up for success: ask for a five second sit, then release, increase to a 30 second sit, then release. And don't forget to add in lots of praise or another type of reward after they are released! Increase duration in small increments and before you know it, your dog will be holding a position for fifteen minutes. Once they can do that you will notice that the idea of breaking a command will become a distant memory!
While learning the command "stay" definitely won't ruin your dog, their obedience will be next level if they understand that a command given stays in effect until a new command (or release) is given. Teaching your dogs this impulse control and focus on command will ensure that they will be waiting on your direction for their next move, that it is up to YOU to decide for them!
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Tips, tricks, and lessons learned from Everywhere Dog and their journey!
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