Tuesday 10th November 2015

Teaching Wait and Stay...

Wait and Stay are two cues which ask for the dog to be still.

Here’s the difference:

WAIT (e.g. before you jump out the car, go through a door, eat your dinner) means

• Attention is required

• Another command will follow    

• The release from Wait is the next command or your release word 

STAY on the other hand:

• Attention is not required

• No other command ever follows

• The only release from Stay is your release word which should always be given in the heel position.  To very clearly distinguish these two commands for your dog never release your dog from a Stay from any other position or from a distance.

Here’s how to teach Sit-Stay:

1. Ask your dog to sit (preferably in heel position)

2. Say ‘Stay’ and at the same time give him/her a hand signal with your right hand.  For the signal, your flat palm comes straight towards the dog’s face.

3. Turn forty-five degrees and face your dog’s right shoulder

4. If your dog moves help him/her back to the original spot and setup in the Sit again.

5. Work up the duration your dog will wait steady in the Sit position gradually.  You’re looking for no movement, not even a paw!

6. As he/she stays, praise quietly and calmly – “good Stay, Stay”.  Repeating the word strengthens the association of the behaviour with the word.

7. To end the Stay pivot back to heel position.

8. Then release him/her with your specific release word such as ‘OK’ or ‘Break’

9. Always be sure to end the stay with the proper release word.

Whenever you’re working on stay, be sure to watch your dog very carefully.  

You want to be able to see even a small move otherwise you will encourage creeping and a sloppy stay.

Push / Drop / Stick

The Push/Drop/Stick training method can be used for training all behaviours and is very useful for working on Stays.

Work with your dog in sets of 5 repetitions of the Sit Stay at the current level of difficulty (in terms of distance, duration and level of distraction).  If your dog gets 5 out of 5 tries right then push on to the next level of difficulty.  If your dog gets 1 or 2 attempts wrong then stick and repeat another set of 5.  If your dog gets two attempts wrong in a row then make the exercise easier by relaxing one of the criteria for example, stand a bit closer or reduce the duration you ask the dog to Stay.

Gradually Add Distractions

Once you’re making reasonable progress with distance and duration, say a steady Stay from 6 feet away start to add distractions:

• Another person walks around and talks to your dog

• A person bounces a ball nearby

• A person squeaks a squeaky toy nearby

• Other dogs move around near your dog

• A person stands close to your dog

Next you become the distraction:

• Tell your dog to Stay and turn to face him/her

• Jump up and down, bend over, kneel down, move your arms and hands, shout words

• Tell your dog to Stay and stand behind him.  

• He may turn his head to look at you but must not move from the spot.  

Teach your dog that Stay means absolutely do not move!!!

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