Training

4 minutes reading time (747 words)

Teaching a dog to stay is crucial for his safety

We as humans have a unique bond with our dogs and it's our duty to make sure we keep them as safe as possible. In order to accomplish this, we need to train the dog properly and teaching a dog to stay is a critical part of this training as it could keep your dog from running headlong into a dangerous situation.

One thing you need to do when training is make sure your dog knows that you are the boss. Frequently using the 'stay' command is a good way to do this. 'Stay' means that your dog will have to be still in one place while you walk around, and can't move until you give permission. If you aren't the alpha in your home, the opposite thing will usually be taking place.

A good first move is to train the dog to "sit" when told to do so. This is a key part of training and should be the basic command that any dog knows before you try to teach him anything else.

Then with the pup, teen, or adult dog in the sit, I thrust a hand in the dog's direction, palm first, fingers raised, giving the voice command to 'stay!' Not shouting, just distinct and audible over other noises. Hand motions should be exact and unique to a certain command/behavior. Take a step back.

Chances are that the dog will try to follow you, so do the hand gesture for sit and stay again. If the dog still doesn't obey, move an attractive treat or toy over the dog's head. It should be visible by the dog but only if his chin is facing upward. The dog may even turn around. Keep doing this until your dog obeys, and then let him know with warm praise. Repeat the process.

Eventually your dog will "get it" and will stay, unfortunately your work is not done at this point. The next step in teaching a dog to stay is to get him to stay as you move further and further away. So, repeat the stay command and take a few steps away from him. Most of the time, the farther away you get the less obedient they will be. Remember, you are their master and they want to follow you.

If your dog will not stay when commanded to, there are ways to fix this. First, put your dog on a long leash or a rope. Secure the leash to an object that won't move, such as a tree. If no object is available, another person can be used to hold the leash stationary. However, if you use this method, the dog may not know who they should be listening to, so it should be a last resort. You should hold the leash while you face your dog. When your dog moves, tug on the leash, confidently say "stay," and give a hand gesture telling the dog to stay. Be careful not to pull too hard, as you don't want your dog to fall and to think he is being punished.

Many dogs will want to lie down during the procedure, even more so as you get farther away from them. It might be helpful to teach 'up' and 'sit' in tandem before moving onto teaching your dog to 'stay'. It varies by breed and individual personality how many times you will have to repeat the exercise over what time period, but don't worry. Every dog learns to stay in time.

Have your dog stay for several seconds. Once this has been completed, tell your dog to "come" using a different tone and a unique hand gesture. Make sure that the gesture for "come" is something that you will be able to do without difficulty but that you will never accidentally do during everyday activities. Any gestures that you use for commands should be unique for each type of behavior you are looking for and should just be used when seeking these behaviors from your dog.

Remember, teaching a dog to stay is a basic core component of his training so be sure to heap praise on your dog when he listens, and with every successive try let the 'stay' last a little longer than last time. You'll know when you've reached the end of your training when you can go inside and be completely out of sight and your dog will still 'stay'. After one minute, though, give your dog the OK to move freely.

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