Basic stay, stage one of 5!
Stay means I’ll be right back, it does not mean that I will tie you to a post to go into a coffee shop and leave you there in hysterics whilst I get my fix. It does not mean “stay until I call you to come rushing to me all full of pent up excited energy”. It does not mean, “stay there until you move and then I’m going to scold you”. Stay is a very delicate command and it should mean one thing and one thing only…stay.
When teaching a stay you must have tons of time and tons of patience. You can not be in a rush or in foul mood as you will fail your dog horribly. Make sure that your dog has had a big huge walk and is quite relaxed. At this point load up your pockets with treats and place your dog on a very specific spot right in front of you. You may even choose to mark the spot with some tape or a put down a blanket or dog bed. Make it good comfy and easy for the both of you for stage one. Now, take a deep breather, not only is this a calming signal to your dog but it will relax you too. Follow this exactly, say the word “stay “calmly and clearly. Stay can save your dogs life so be firm yet fair with your tone. Tone and body language are everything to a dog, it is how they communicate. Now, choose your hand sign, move your hand from your shoulder area and clearly and slowly move it about 2 feet in the air shoulder height. Do not shove your hand into your dogs face, he will instinctively move back from this action. Take one small, relaxed step back from the dog and then take one step right back to the dog…reward, and CALMLY say “good stay”. I like to growl out the words “goooood staaaaay. This sounds like a low warning growl to your dog which if they have been with their mother for the full 8 weeks, they should fully understand.
REPEAT THIS SMALL ACTION 3 TIMES OVER. Keep your posture very upright and do not bend over as you leave or approach the dog.
This encourages most dogs to move towards you as your body language looks inviting or in some cases it looks like and attack position. DO NOT RUSH ANY OF THIS. Notice how I said “only take one step out and one step back”, do not ask your dog to stay and walk out of their energy field. They will just follow you! Some dogs may require a second person to sit behind the dog and hold them in place. Some dogs may need to be tied up on a short leash. Some dogs may be so sensitive that you may only be able to move an arm or leg back!!
All dogs learn and respond differently.
At any point during the stay training, your dog moves towards you, shuffle into him and move him back to “the spot”. You will be amazed at how far your dog can move you around a room by slowly inching towards you!!!!
Step number 2..repeat this whole thing with now taking 2 slow, relaxed steps back, breathe!
Step number 3..repeat it all over again moving 3 steps back. Yep, you got it, BABY STEPS!!
When you and your dog fully trust what one is asking the other it is time now to build time. ALWAYS BUILD TIME BEFORE DISTANCE. This is a trust exercise, take your time. Dogs have shown us over and over again the starting with 3 seconds, then 5 then, 10, then 15 then 20, works like a charm. If your dog breaks his stay when you are building time, it’s up to you to go back to the seconds of time that your dog had success and work there until the dog is eager stay and have you walk back and forth only to come back to feed him. Stay is a great deal for the dog, all they have to do is sit there while you do all of the work!! Your dog should love to stay; they should be begging you to ask them to stay!! The most important thing is that you dog understands that stay means stay and you will come right back no matter what. Refrain from exciting your dog through this whole thing; they should only be calm and relaxed for the stay. This is also one of the reasons not to ask them to come to you when teaching the stay. Again, dogs have proven to us that if you teach them that stay means that you are going to call them to come, this is what they will be anticipating and this could be detrimental in a emergency situation.
Stage 2 is to repeat all of this all over again standing only 5 feet back…time before distance people, do not rush it. Yes I am very serious about this; it is a very sensitive subject and needs to be taught to the dog with care and patience!!
Perhaps it’s just my PMS…hahahaha.
To be continued after I have showered and done some yoga….stay tuned for stage 3, 4 and 5….yep, break it down, take your time. Practice stage one everywhere!!!!!!