One of the most common hurdles a new pet owner faces is how to teach their dog to “stay”. Dogs are known to be loyal animals, but it does take some training to help them know when and how to stay grounded. Here are some steps to follow to get your dog into the habit of understanding the “stay” command:
1. Ask your dog to sit down. Once your dog is sitting, clearly say “stay”.
This may seem like a simple command, but it is difficult getting your dog to understand and follow this instruction on the first try. The most vital part of this command is the intonation. On one hand, you don’t want your voice to sound like a threat that could scare your dog. At the same time, you don’t want your command to be too soft since you are trying to be assertive. Using hand gestures while you speak can help relay the command. Once your dog is sitting down, firmly tell them to “stay”.
2. Reward your dog for sitting still.
As intelligent animals, dogs have the ability to connect a reward to an action they have just completed. Once your dog can obediently follow the instructions to sit and stay, reward it with a treat. This helps your dog acquire a positive connotation to associate with the command.
3. Repeat these steps, gradually increasing the time that you have your dog stay put.
Repetition is the trick that makes everything click. After your dog has understood your voice commands and hand gestures, keep the process going by repeating the same commands while rewarding the dog with a treat for every successful execution. With time, they will understand.
4. If your dog is not catching on, don’t give up!
Your dog can read human mood changes like a book. You should do your best to never get angry at them. Training your dog to grasp commands may not go as smoothly as you would expect. Frustrations are a normal feeling to have, but be sure to exercise caution when venting them out. Scaring your dog by shouting in anger is not a good outcome.
5. Brag a bit
Having a dog that follows command has a refreshing feeling – don’t shy away from bragging about it to other dog owners. Take your dog for walks and shows and try issuing commands in a crowded place. It never hurts to get that pat on your back for a job well done!