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Teach Your Dog to Stay

Once your dog understands the command to stay, it should remain in a seated position until you release it. It doesn't matter if a cat passes by or a truckload of dog food jackknifes right in front of him. Your dog isn't completely trained unless its rear end maintains contact with the ground until the very moment you say it's okay to move.


To teach the stay, place your dog in a sitting position while on the lead. Tell it "Stay!" placing the palm of your left hand in front of the muzzle and taking one step away from the dog (start with your right foot; this is a stationary exercise). Repeat the "Stay!" command in a coaxing but firm voice and keep your hands on the dog, if necessary, to reinforce the command.


During the first few attempts, don't try to make your dog stay for more than ten or twenty seconds before releasing it. Slowly increase the time and the distance you step away while cutting down on the repeated vocal commands, until your dog will stay on one command for at least three minutes.


It is important for you to understand that the properly trained dog will do what it is told the first and only time it is told. During training, it's okay to give as many commands as it takes to get the idea across, but you must reach the point where you need to say only one "heel," "sit," or "stay" for the dog to respond. Once this is accomplished, you should deliver your single instruction in a firm but pleasant tone, and then use the lead and collar to ensure that your dog follows orders. Steer clear of the rising voice syndrome." Most dogs aren't deaf and they certainly aren't insensitive; they are just improperly trained. Having to repeat your commands in tones of ever-increasing volume and frustration will not produce an obedient animal. You should meet with success if you remain firm and unequivocal.