Teaching your dog to stay will accomplish two very important goals.

• The dog will learn the meaning of a verbal correction.
• The dog will learn the meaning of a release word.

A verbal correction is a word or sound that will signal to your dog that he has just lost any chance of reward and that the behavior he is displaying is unwanted. It can not only be used to teach the stay command, but it can also be helpful in other dog training exercises such as loose leash walking, and stopping your dog in the process of stealing your socks or jumping on the counter.

A release word is a special word such as “break” or “free” that signals to your dog that the training session is over. A release word is often an overlooked part of the stay command and needs to be taught with the stay and used at the end of all your future training sessions.

I recommend making your release word unique. “Okay” is a word we use often in our daily vocabulary as well as “No.” Try using “Free,” “Break,” or “Enough.” When you say it, say it with enthusiasm, throw your hands up in the air, and begin playing with your dog or praising him.

Here’s how to teach the stay command:

• Hold a tasty little treat up to your dog’s nose.
• Try to lower the treat to the ground in front of him. Your dog will go for the treat. Quickly pull it away and give your dog a verbal correction (discussed above).
• Try lowering the treat again. If he goes for it again, quickly pull it away and give your verbal correction.
• Repeat this exercise until your dog no longer moves toward the treat. When your dog stays, pick up the treat and quickly give it to him while praising.
• Repeat this exercise until your dog stays every time and does not lunge for the treat.
• Once your dog is staying in place several times you can add the word “Stay.”
• Now, give your dog the stay command.
• Put the food on the floor.
• If your dog stays, quickly pick up the treat and give it to him. Repeat many times.
• If your dog breaks the stay and goes for the food, quickly pick up the treat and give him a verbal correction. Repeat exercise.
• After several successful one or two-second stays, give your release word and praise your dog.

Here are a few tips:

Always go to your dog to reward him for staying. Never let your dog get up and go to the treat. Your dog will begin to anticipate this and develop sloppy stays. You want your dog to learn that stay means do not move from this position until I come back and give you the release word.

Try not repeat your commands. If your dog breaks position, give him a verbal correction and withhold the reward. Start with one or two-second stays and work your way up slowly.

Only use the command “Stay” when you can also release your dog from the command. Don’t leave for work and tell your dog to “Stay” as you go out the door. Eight hours later, your dog will not still be in the stay. Instead, use a command like “Wait” to help keep your dog calm at the door.

Good Luck!

Author's Bio: 

Eric Letendre, the author of The Amazing Dog Training Man, invites you to visit http://www.amazingdogtrainingman.com for leading edge dog training tips, instructional video clips and articles that will help you train and understand your dog. You can also get weekly dog training updates with a free Smart Dog Newsletter subscription, available at http://www.amazingdogtrainingman.com/newsletter1.htm