If you have a strong desire for your dog to be safe then one of the best things you can do for him is to teach him how to “Stay”. When your dog masters this command you can be assured that you can keep him in a safe spot if there is danger around.
Important as it may be, the “Stay” command can be quite difficult for your dog to learn. Why? Simply because this command requires that your dog stay put while you move around – this can be difficult as it is in your pet’s nature to follow you. However, with persistence and perseverance, you can both master this command.
Before you start teaching your dog to stay, you must make sure he has mastered the “Sit” command as it is the first part of the “Stay” command.
Don’t confuse your dog by trying to teach him too many commands at once, start with one, then move on to the next and then the next and so on.
Having said that, if your dog has mastered the “Sit” command, here are some steps to follow in order to train your dog to “Stay”:
1. Start with your dog in the sitting position. Put your hand up with the palm facing your dog and say “Stay”. Use a firm and clear voice for the command. Then take a step backwards.
2. Your dog’s natural tendency will be to follow you so he will probably get up and come to you. At this point you want to repeat the “Sit” and “Stay” commands.
3. This is where it can get tricky. Some dogs will “get it” and stay in just a few tries, but others insist on getting up and following you. If yours insists on following, there is a little trick you can try to reinforce the behavior you want.
You will need to be near some sort of post or even a tree. Put the dog’s collar and a long leash on and wrap the leash around the tree while keeping hold of the end. As the dog starts to move towards you, you can pull on the leash which will keep him in place.
4. Once you get your dog to stay after you have taken one step, try taking two steps, then three, then four. You will find that the further away you get, the less your dog “stays”.
Here is where persistence and repetition come into play – just keep trying the command while moving further and further away.
Teaching your dog to stay can be challenging especially since it goes against your dogs nature of following the Alpha dog – you. Remember, you don’t need to hit a home run during the first training session.
Do a little bit each day and you will soon find that your dog is staying in position for longer and longer amounts of time.