Stay

Trust exercise

Always return to your dog to reward

Achieving the first 10 steps away from your dog is the hardest bit

How to teach Stay.

  • Step 1: Stand still, raise palm and say "stay" - Stand still in front of your dog and encourage them into a sit. When they are sitting, raise up and hold a flat palm in front of your dog's face (but not in it) while you say the cue "stay" only once. Immediately lower your palm down next to you into a normal resting arm position. If your dog does not move, bridge and reward.

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  • Step 2: Slowly build duration - Repeat the process of step 1 and slowly work on increasing the duration you both stay there after you cue and lower your palm before you bridge and reward. 
     

  • Step 3: Circle around your dog in a sit with treat pinched in fingers - With your dog in a sit, pinch a treat in-between your fingers and hold it right on your dog's nose. Let me smell and lick but do not let them get it. Continuing to hold that treat there as a lure, start to circle around your dog. The goal is to circle completely around your dog without them lifting their butt from the ground. Bridge and release the treat if they successfully do it. When you are moving in and around the backend of your dog, it is hard for them to stay seated - they can't see you, you are in the region where you could step on their tail, etc. This is where most dog's will break position, hop up and spin around towards the human. If this happens two times in a row, break the process of circling around your dog into multiple smaller steps. To achieve success with your dog you might have to bridge and treat every step or bridge when you get to the backend and then slowly release the treat while you continue to circle the rest of the way around. 
     

  • Step 4: Pretend to have treat pinched in fingers and circle around dog - You are going to repeat the process of step 2, but this time only pretending that you have a treat pinched in-between your fingers.
     

  • Step 5: Issue stay and circle around dog - You are going to repeat the process of step 2, but this time raise your flat palm while you are standing in front of your dog. Say "stay" once, immediately remove it afterwards and circle around your dog. Do not say "say" again in the circle when you are in motion  You can only say it again if you are breaking down the steps and it is after a bridge and treat and you are working on the next step around. Again, if they break position before you can complete the circle twice in a row,
    bridge and reward. To achieve success with your dog you might have cue your "stay", circle 1 x step  into multiple smaller steps. 
     

  • Step 6: 10 steps away, walking backwards - The goal for this step is for you to continually in one motion walk 10 steps backwards (facing your dog) while your dog holds a sit. Even if your dog can achieve this immediately, you still want to break down every step to reach 10 steps, to build a solid reinforcement history in your dog. To achieve this break the 10 steps down into step by step. E.g. Cue stay correctly, take one step backwards, bridge and return to your dog to reward. Now cue stay, take two steps backwards, bridge and return to your dog to reward, and so on. You must always bridge when you are away from your dog if they have help position and always return to your dog to treat them (never them breaking the sit to come and get it from you). If at any stage your dog falters, that is okay, just return to your previous successful step away and do a couple more repetitions before trying to advance to the next step further away again.
     

  • Step 7: 10 steps away, walking with your back to your dog- Repeat step 5 except this time you are going to complete all 10 steps with your back to your dog as you walk away.