Any tips for the 'stay' command?

  • Kipawa is doing 100% on his 'sit' command, but the 'stay' command is something else. In the morning I request a "sit" and a "stay" before feeding. But when I motion my hand in front of him for the "stay", he thinks I want to give him attention, and he goes up on his hind legs and paws at my hand (the other hand is holding the food). I don't think I am asking too much by requesting "stay" before feeding. Do you have any tips/ideas for me? At the puppy class last week, he did do "stay", and I was able to walk to the end of the 6 foot leash a few times.

  • It just takes doing the same thing over and over until the "light" goes on for a puppy.

    With my girls, I first asked them to "stand" for their treat… if they jumped up, the stand command was repeated... the second they stood, they got the treat. And believe me, you had to be quick with two wild things... They figured it out pretty quickly... then I would add the "stay", so it then became Stand/Stay... again if they stood, they got the treat. Then I added a step back with the Stand/Stay, again the second they stayed, treat time.... and so on and so one. Worked for them really well....

    As far as "stay" for their regular food, I feed them in their crates which are in a different room then the kitchen. When it is time to eat, I just tell them "Kennel" and off they go....

  • you could do a modified stay before eating. I usually use "wait", then I don't use a specific hand just means 'hang out here' until I use the release word. You can start by holding him lightly by the collar, and starting to set the food down, while saying "wait" or in my case "wwwaaaaiiittt" soon as he starts to move, and you can feel this through his collar, you pick up the food bowl, and say 'try again'. The goal is to get the bowl to the ground, with his body still relaxed, and then you give the release word "okay" or "free". Once he gets the idea, you can remove your hand from his collar, but the bowl still comes up if he starts to move towards.

    It is kind of hard to explain this in words, rather than showing in person. But the main idea is that he doesn't get released to the food until he is truly waiting.

  • Fran, Mary Woodward's site is so easy to follow it makes you feel faint. 🙂

    I really recommend Mary for all basic training.

  • I certainly don't think asking for a stay is too much. My pup here knows to back up and wait for food without a command as I bring it to them they are so used to working for it.

    Another thing to watch for is bending, sometimes if you put your "stay" hand up you bend just a bit at the waist to put the hand in front of the pup. This body language says come mixed with the stay hand signal and can give the pup the signal to break the sit command. I also have found the "its yer choice" game helps with the wait or stay command, it teaches self control.
    See if when you put your hand up to say stay if you are bending at all. I have to concentrate on keeping my shoulders back and standing up straight for the stay command.
    I am familiar with Mary Woodward's site and it has some wonderful video. It helps me because I am such a visual person.
    Hug the little man for us.

  • I am so lucky to get to hang out with a lot of dog trainers and one thing that I have struggled most with my basenjis is "stay" so it is frequently a question I ask about. The consensus with most of the trainers I talk to is that they don't really start "stay" as its own command but instead build time in holding a body position and teaching a release word. This way "sit", "down", "stand" come to mean hold that position until I tell you to do something else. Then it is a matter of the 3 Ds, Distance, Distraction, Duration. Meal times are going to be high distraction so keep your distance from him small and the duration he has to hold the position short at first. I use 100 peck to build time first and then distance. 1 click/treat, 1, 2 click/treat, 1, 2, 3 click/treat and then just go to a shorter interval if they break their stay. "Its Yer Choice" is great for helping them learn impulse control and making all of this much easier since it really helps the light go on about "I'm not getting food until I back off and wait."

  • google Overall relaxation protocol
    it breaks down the stay into to tiny steps. i used this with Zest and she has very nice sit/stays at the start line. (you can look up her first ever agility run on youtube.) I also don't use stay or wait, just "sit" or "down".

  • @Therese:

    Another thing to watch for is bending, sometimes if you put your "stay" hand up you bend just a bit at the waist to put the hand in front of the pup. This body language says come mixed with the stay hand signal and can give the pup the signal to break the sit command

    Therese, I reviewed my body language, and yes, I was bending at the waist. When I corrected this, Kipawa got the stay command right away. In puppy class this weekend, we did sit/stay while other dogs walked by. My little man held his ground 80% of the time, and I was so proud of him! Thanks so much for the tip - it made all the difference.

  • For a teenage boy to be 80% with distractions is great. We're very proud of him and his Mom for doing such a great job with him.
    His little sisters Olive (aka Fina) and Scarlett will be coming to visit us next week. I hear they are also doing well, in fact I could hear Scarlett barrooing at her dad when he called to tell us they were coming for a visit.
    The bending thing is a mistake I make frequently so I have to remind myself all the time to watch my posture.

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