Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How to Train your Dog to Stay

Training your dog to “stay” stands to be one of the most basic of lessons, falling in with the “sit” and “roll over” commands.

A basic that comes in handy when controlling your dog becomes a need, teaching your dog to “stay” holds a lot of value as a command, one which any dog owner can identify as useful and practical.

Here are step-by-step tips which touch up on how to train your dog to stay.

These methods aren’t exactly 100% surefire steps in teaching any dog to stay, since not all dogs have the same temperaments and learning curve edges.

But they have proven to be effective in most dog training cases, thus the reason why they’re featured here.

1. Position your dog to “stay” and stand directly in front of him/her – getting your dog used to this setup (or position, call it what you may) would be a good first step in starting the training process. Get your dog used to the idea that by being in a single “rooted” position, he or she is doing something good. Set the idea, and set it well. You can implement a “reward and punishment” system in instilling this lesson, to allow better reactions and understanding. This may not seem to be the most efficient way, but it has lasting results that last through a dog’s lifetime.

2. Reinforce the position with a verbal command or hand signal – once your dog gets the idea that staying is good, reinforce the position with a verbal command or a hand signal indicating a call for the position or stance. You can work with hand motions and doggy reactions (like waving your hand before your dog, palm down, facing your dog), deal with voice commands in calling for the “stay” position, or implement a combination of both voice commands and hand signals. Again, you can implement a “reward and punishment” system in enforcing this lesson.

3. The three D’s involved in the “Stay” Command – after getting your dog acquainted with the “stay” command, you can now consider variables to reinforce the practical sides of the order.

Professional dog trainers often label this stage as the three D’s, where duration, distance and distractions are considered as test variables in determining how well your dog follows the command. Given that you’ve managed to get your dog to stay in controlled environments, enforcing the command in situations and places outside initial training areas is next, with variables added into the mix in doses.

You can opt for calling the command in the garage, then in the driveway, then head on out on the sidewalk, etc. The key is to get your dog used to the notion that even with external variables, the command has to be followed.

As already mentioned, the steps above aren’t 100% surefire methods in successfully getting dogs to stay, but most dog owners have found them to be efficient in training dogs how to stay. Also, the steps above may seem straightforward enough, but the time aspect involved in their implementation isn’t universal, taking days or months at a time to cover each step.

All in all, as with all training methods, patience has to be involved, and making do with the “rewards and punishment” system should be used judiciously.

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