Everyone wants their dog to “stay.”
Stay there, don’t move. It sounds easy, right? I mean, how hard can it be to just stay still? For a dog, it’s pretty darn hard — he’s social, he’s interested in what’s going on, maybe he’s uncomfortable or even scared. If you take the time to build a solid stay from the beginning, though, stays aren’t that hard at all.
The Three Parts to a Stay: Distractions, Distance, Duration
We’ve introduced the concept of an advanced stay and now we’re ready to introduce distance!
Here’s how we add distance:
- Start small — take just one step away at first.
- Return to your dog immediately (we’re working on distance, not duration)
- Click immediately upon return to your dog (if he’s stayed in place)
- Reinforce with something yummy and maybe even the opportunity to play a bit before starting again
- Systematically increase the number of steps you take until you’ve reached your goal
- What if the dog gets up? You asked him for too much, too soon. Instead of scolding your dog, remind yourself to take smaller steps (literally and figuratively) next time.
- What if the dog lies down (if you left him in a sit)? Leave distance behind. Go back and work on the sit position for duration, then once the sit is solid (not sliding into a down), then bring distance back into the picture.
Remember, your goal as your dog’s teacher is to set him up to be successful. Too much, too fast doesn’t help the dog get it right. The more clicks and treats your dog earns, the more he learns “the right answer.”
Talk back! Leave a comment and let us know the most distracting thing your dog has faced.