How to Teach a Dog to Stay
I find the word ‘stay’ to be very redundant when it comes to training your dog. Think about it. Why do you need to tell your dog to stay? If you tell your dog to sit, shouldn’t he stay sitting?
If you tell your dog to lie down, why do you need to add ‘stay’ to it? If you haven’t released the dog then why is the dog getting up?
The Implied Stay
Simply put, I teach my clients and their dogs the ‘implied stay’. What that means is that whatever command I give to the dog it is implied that you keep doing that until you are released. Whether that be sit, lay down, or other it is important to keep at it until someone gives you the okay to do something else.
Having reliable stay behaviors are wonderful because they solve other issues. What I mean by that is your dog can’t be begging at the table if he is lying down and staying. Your dog can’t jump all over your guests as they come in the door if they sit and stay. Dogs can’t sneak off and chew something if they lie down and stay.
The stay behavior is probably the most valuable command any indoor dog can have because it solves so many other problems.
In a nutshell, training your dog to stay is simple in concept. It all boils down to ‘what do you do when your dog isn’t staying’? If you’ve asked your dog to sit or lie down and the dog immediately gets up, what do you do?
Within the answer to that question is why your dog does or doesn’t stay. Do you allow your dog to get up after you’ve commanded him or her to sit? Or do you correct the disobedience? Answer that question and you’ll have a reason behind whether or not your dog stays on command.
One of my favorite ways to train a dog to stay for a longer period is through what I call ‘integration training’. What that means is that I integrate my training with my normal activities. If I watch TV, I’m also training the dog to stay. If I eat dinner I’m also working on the dog staying put. Read a book? Play on the computer? Why not train your dog to hold a position while you do that?