Rosie’s goals in life are to convince people to throw her ball or sit on someone’s feet (or lap if it’s available). Her most favorite toy ever is her orange Chuckit! ball. It’s one of the few toys which have survived her powerful teeth. If Rosie had her way, she’d be playing fetch all day every day.
Rosie is toy motivated. I’m pretty sure she’d jump off the Grand Canyon after her ball. This makes her fetch sessions wonderful opportunities for training. Rosie has been working on down and stay. She has gotten very good at downing on command. However, she will sometimes break her stays. She gets so excited for the chase that she can barely stay still! Stay is a highly useful command and teaches your dog self control. For instance, it comes in handy when Rosie is outside off leash and sees the mailman approaching. The human tells her to stay and goes to hold her collar just in case. This way, Rosie doesn’t bolt to the mailman’s car to give him some unappreciated slobbers.
Want to improve your dog’s stay command? Here are some tips!
- Put your dog in stay either sitting, lying down, or standing. Remember, “stay” means that you don’t want your dog to move from the spot you put him. Now, walk a large circle around your dog. If your dog becomes confused and breaks his stay, say “Oops!” but don’t give him a treat. Instead, ask for an easy command and reward him for that. This way, you aren’t giving praise for him moving but can keep the session positive. Put your dog in stay and try it again.
- Put your dog in a down stay and walk over him. Rosie was at first baffled when my human did this and broke her stay. However, now she is more comfortable with it.
- Put your dog in stay, take a few steps back, and do some jumping jacks. If your dog breaks his stay while you’re doing this, try again, this time only moving your hands. The next, do one jumping jack, gradually increasing how many you do.
- Put your dog in stay and walk behind a tree. Go quickly so you don’t alarm your dog. We hate to not see you! Up the difficulty by staying hidden longer.
- Have a friend create distractions for your dog. Put your dog in stay and have your friend
drop an object near your dog. If your dog can keep his stay during that, up the difficulty. Have your friend bounce a ball, talk loudly, or run around. If your dog breaks his stay, do not let the friend give him any attention. Instead, as suggested above, say, “Oops!” and ask for an easier trick, rewarding that. Then, start all over again.
- Practice putting your dog in stay in different locations. Go to the park, a quiet neighborhood street, a friend’s house, etc. Please keep your dog on leash in all unfenced areas!
- Choose a release word to cue your dog when he is allowed to break his stay. “Okay” is a good choice as it is distinguishable from common commands.
(“Stay” is a lifesaver when trying to get good photos of your dog! Position your dog, tell him to stay, and viola! You have a lovely picture of a still dog!)