I was in Dahlonega last Wednesday working with a new Home Dog Training client and his Collie, Maggie.  Maggie is a puppy and we were starting off with basic socialization, behavior, and obedience commands.  She was doing quite well and my client was amazed at the progress we made by the second lesson.  As we were finishing up for the day, my client said that he knew everything was going really great and that we shouldn’t push Maggie too far too fast, but he wondered if I could give him a “little extra credit work” for Maggie.  Maggie was getting pretty good with her sit and he wondered if they he could understand more about the stay command.

I was very impressed with my client’s comments because it showed that he really got the process of keeping the training slow and in a clear path.  They had been very vigilant with their homework from the first lesson to the second and it showed.  Maggie would sit with a single command and no coaxing.  She also would look up at my client after the command was given to focus on what was to come next.  I thought that giving him some extra work with the “stay command” would be just fine.

The first thing I explained to my client was that the “stay command” could only be accomplished if the dog was already responding well to the “sit command”.  Maggie was obviously doing that.  I also provided a little insight that the “stay command” is really a long sit with passive focus.

I explained that he could practice the following steps between now and next time to see how Maggie would respond to the “stay command”.  I reiterated that he should not try to push her or take it too fast.  If she hit a brick wall and just couldn’t get the next step, hold off and we would work on that when I came out next.

So, here are the steps I gave him:

  • Make sure Maggie is on a leash and that there are no distractions in the area.
  • Stand next to Maggie and command her to sit. Once she has responded, very quietly praise her.
  • Now, slowly step in front of her while you put your hand out like a policeman telling a car to stop. Say “Stay”.
  • After she has not moved for three to five seconds, step back to your original position and praise her.
  • Repeat the above steps until Maggie constantly performs a good stay. Now, we move on…
  • After you put Maggie in a sit and step in front of her saying “stay” and raising your hand; back up while you still have your “stop sign hand raised”. Back up until you have reached the end of the leash.
  • Don’t move too far back as to tug the leash.
  • Stay there for three to five seconds while she is staying.
  • Step back to her, return to your original position, and then praise her.
  • Repeat the above process of having her in a stay and stepping back directly in front of her until she can perform the stay without moving. Now we move on…
  • Do all of the above. This time, when you reach the end of the leash while backing up, move around her to one side until you are at a 90 degree angle to her left.  Wait a moment and then reverse your path until you are at a 90 degree angle on her right.  Pause a moment.
  • Return to standing in front of her with the extended leash. Wait a moment.
  • Step back towards her and return to your original position. Praise her foe being a good dog.
  • Repeat the above steps until she performs all portions of this level of the stay perfectly. You are ready to move on…
  • Do all of the above. This time, when you have reached the 90 degree angle to Maggie’s left, don’t stop.
  • Continue walking around her by going in back of her and reappearing on her right side. Always be facing her.
  • Make sure that you don’t pull the leash or do anything that might think you are giving a leash command as you are circling Maggie. This could confuse her and cause her to break her stay.
  • Return to the front of Maggie, wait a second, and then step back beside her. Give her a praise.  Repeat this until she is performing a good stay.  Now we move on…
  • Now, put Maggie in a stay and step back as few feet. Drop the leash and walk around the room.  Still face her while holding your “stop sign hand up”.
  • Return to her side and praise her for her good stay.
  • Maggie now knows to stay.

Taking small steps with clear results that build on following steps is a natural way that dogs learn.

Please call Robin or myself at (770) 718-7704 if you are in need of any dog training help.  We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Dahlonega Georgia.  Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Dahlonega Georgia.