3D’s for teaching your dog to Stay

Michigan Dog Training, teach your dog to stay,

One of every dog’s necessary skills  is to be able to stay either in a position such as sit-stay or down-stay or on Place such as on a place board, dog bed or towel. Whether you call it stay or not, really doesn’t matter. Personally, I don’t use the word “stay” because I’m very consistent with my dog. Sit means sit and down means down.

There are 3 D’s involved when teaching your dog to stay either in a position or on a location. They are: Duration, Distractions and Distance. Despite everyone’s ultimate goal to get to the Distance component as soon as possible, I teach that component last.

I want the dog to be very solid with being able to stay in the position or on place for longer periods of time (duration) and amongst distractions before teaching it with distance. The reason being is because with Duration and Distractions I am near the dog with him on leash. If he breaks position or the location, I can help guide him back into position whereas if I start working on distance too soon, I can’t offer him that help.

However, I know everyone is tempted to start on Distance too soon because that is their end goal. So to feed that temptation without causing training problems, only go a few steps away. With a dog on a 6 foot leash, you’re able to go four or five feet away and quickly return to praise your dog for staying. Don’t go further than the length of the leash until your dog is solid with Duration and amongst Distractions.

Those are the 3D’s of teaching a dog to Stay. I’ll go into more detail of each in another blog post. Until then, check out our dog training services at Michigan Dog Training.

3D's, Michael Burkey, Michigan Dog Training, teach your dog to stay, sit stay, down stay

Flexible leashes not recommended for control or walking your dog

The online news station at Consumers Reports recently wrote an article about a flexible leash severing the finger tip of a lady who tried to hang onto the flexible leash as her dog pulled her across a parking lot.

Flexible or retractable leash

A flexible leash (also known as a flex-leash or retractable leash) is a coiled up line that allows the line to go in and out very quickly as the dog’s distance from you changes.  Many people like this type of leash as it allows the dog to walk out ahead of them at a varying 3-16 feet.

For a dog that likes to pull and has not been trained to walk on a shorter leash, this seems like an obvious solution as now the dog has more distance to run around the person.  However, it is only a temporary fix as the dog quickly learns that it can still pull but now at 16 feet instead of 4 or 6 feet.  Additionally, the dog will typically run back and forth in front of the handler or worse yet run circles around the handler.

The only time I have seen a plus side of using a retractable leash is while potting my dog during breaks on a long car vacation ride.  By the leash retracting, I don’t have a leash that gets dirty while the dog walks through a doggie potty area nor do my feet get wet from the grass as I stand on the parking lot pavement as my dog does his business.  However, when paired with the potential for serious injury and it’s just harder for the typical owner to keep control of a flexible leash than a normal leash when a dog lunges, it’s not a recommended practice.

Therefore, for safety and training reasons, the use of retractable leashes is not recommended. Instead, a long line that drags on the ground while the owner holds the end of the leash can be used when doing distance work such as for a sit or down stay at a distance or a recall from a distance.  And, for walking your dog, a 4 or 6 foot leash is recommended.  With help from a Michigan dog training professional you can teach your dog to walk on a loose leash very quickly and avoid being potentially injured by a retractable leash.