Making your dog’s “Stay” work for you.
Once your dog understands the concept of stay (stay right where you are, I’ll come back to you and release you when it’s ok to come with me), you can start building on the “real-life” value of the behavior.
By now, you’ve already taught your dog each of the three individual components of stay: duration, distraction, and distance.
Now the real fun starts! it’s time to start putting those together. You start, of course, with just two of the elements and making sure your dog has a pretty good chance of getting clicked and reinforced.
Remember, your job as teacher of your dog is to make the exercise challenging, yet ensuring your dog can succeed.
What if you make a mistake?
Ok, so maybe you overestimated your dog’s skills and he went after the toy you tossed or came to you when you said his name — instead of staying planted where you asked him to “stay.” No worries, it’s not a big deal. Simplify the exercise — make it a little easier — so you can get your dog a click and a treat. So if you were tossing a toy (distraction) while you were 5 feet away (distance) from your dog, and he went for the toy, just shorten the distance (maybe stand 2.5 feet away) and toss the toy away from your dog. If your dog is successful, click and treat, then move maybe 3 feet away and toss away from your dog.
It’s pretty easy to make quick progress when you set your dog up for success.
Kinda makes you wonder why people do it any other way, doesn’t it?