The ‘Stay’ command is one of the most difficult skills to teach your puppy as their attention is still developing, making it hard to avoid distractions. However, it is also one of the most useful. Teaching your puppy to stay transforms tricks into commands, and in various situations, the Stay command will ensure your dog’s safety and help you control impulsive behaviour. So, where do you begin? Dog obedience training is not a quick process, especially when puppy training. It takes time and patience to build on your puppy’s knowledge and help them master a command. But with the Wellbeloved training plan, your dog will be obeying the stay command in no time.
A step-by-step guide on teaching your dog to stay
As with all commands, you should start training in a quiet spacious place with no distractions. Turn the TV off and enjoy some quality time with your pup. The session will last as long as your puppy’s concentration does – aim for 10 minutes as a benchmark, although this differs depending on your pup! Try following the steps below:
1. Introduce ‘Stay’
Hold your hand out with your palm facing your dog. If your dog stays still for a few seconds, reward your dog’s stillness with a treat. You should then introduce the word ‘stay’ in a calm voice. If you’re planning to use a clicker, press the click and treat your dog for staying. If you’re not using a clicker, simply pair a treat with a rewarding word such as ‘good boy’ or ‘good girl’.
2. Build distance
The next step is to increase the distance from your puppy when asking them to stay. Start by saying ‘Stay’ and taking a step back. If they follow the command, reward them with a treat, however if they move, remain patient and calmly take your dog back to the start. You should repeat this step at the same distance a few times, and then gradually increase your distance each training session if the command is followed correctly each time. Try not to jump ahead if your puppy isn’t succeeding every time!
3. Turn away from your dog
A great way to measure dog obedience is turning away from your dog when you give a command, especially when teaching a dog to stay. A dog’s natural instinct is to follow us, and they will likely forget everything you have taught them. However, with practice, turning away from your pup whilst asking them to stay will become easier and be hugely beneficial in the long run.
4. Add distractions
The final test when puppy training a command is adding distractions, otherwise known as ‘proofing’ a behaviour. Practice the stay command with other people in the room or with toys in eyesight. Although this will be a lot harder for your puppy to obey, with persistent training and a handful of treats, your dog will get there eventually.
Patience, Persistence and Playtime
Patience is essential for all dog obedience training, so remain calm and never shout. Puppies respond well to praise and treats, so use food to your advantage. If they know the right behaviour means getting a treat, they will try to grasp the trick as soon as possible. However, this won’t work if the wrong behaviour is punished. Persistence is also key when attempting any sort of puppy training, so whether you decide to use the clicker or your voice, try to keep it the same. Clicker training is particularly useful for training your puppy with more commands in the future, as your dog will always associate the clicker with treats. Remember that first and foremost, puppies love playtime. Whilst teaching your dog how to stay will keep them safe and help with their development, try to keep it fun. It’s more than likely that your puppy will lose interest, and that’s OK! Instead of fighting for their attention, you can pick up where you left off next time.