Sissy, practicing the command “Stay”

Have you ever wished that you could command your dog to freeze while you go into another room or dash out of the door for the mail?  It can be hard if your dog follows you to areas that are restricted for pooches or tries to wiggle out of the door.  Fix that by teaching your dog to stay!

Before you begin, decide what you want stay to mean.  It can simply mean, “Stay in this room” or “Freeze in that position!”  My humans decided to teach me to sit and totally freeze, not moving a paw towards them.  They have used it many times to get me to stay still while outside so they could catch me or for when they go out of the door.  Also, it really came in handy when they decided to give me an outdoor bath.  My leash was on so I wouldn’t run off, but I slipped out of my collar and dashed off.  Thankfully, my humans shouted, “Sissy, stay!” and I froze and let them catch me.  My humans also tightened my collar to prevent any further escapes!

  1. If you want your dog to sit while he stays, teach him the command Sit.  Practice the sit Caroline_Fidelis_et_Fortiscommand for a day or two until he will wait a few seconds in that position before you give him a treat.
  2. Now that your dog will sit for a few more seconds before getting a reward, ask him to sit and start taking one teeny weeny step back while saying, “Staaaaay.”  If your dog will tolerate that small step, give him praise and then a tasty treat.  Practice that little step until your dog is comfortable with waiting.  If he follows you, don’t punish him.  He doesn’t know what you’re asking, so you can’t properly correct him.  Don’t say a word but don’t give him a treat either.  Just take a step forward and repeat the process.  Your dog will eventually get the hang of it.
  3. Now that your dog will sit in a stay position while you take a small step back, work on taking two steps.  Once your dog does that fine, take three, then four, then five, etc.  Don’t rush it or your dog will want to follow you.
  4. Now that your dog will stay while you take many steps, try walking the full length of the biggest room in your house or across the yard.  Command your dog to stay, walk to the other side of the room/yard, then walk calmly back.  Don’t run yet, as that will get your dog very excited.  You can try jogging back and forth when your dog gets better at stay.

Sissy’s Tips and Techniques20140523_183812_shaved_goldendoodle

  • A good hand signal for this handy trick is to hold out your hand like a stop signal, telling your dog to freeze.
  • If your dog keeps taking steps forward even when you do a teeny tiny step, take a step that is hardly noticeable.  Move back no more than an inch, and then increase from there.  Some dogs take longer to learn this trick than others, but when yours catches on, you’ll be one proud dog owner!