Should I tell my dog to stay?

Michigan Dog Training

I am often asked the question, “Should I tell my dog to stay?” As noted in an earlier blog article, “3D’s for teaching your dog to Stay,” “I don’t use the word “stay” because I’m very consistent with my dog. Sit means sit and down means down.”

If I tell my dog to “sit,” then I expect him to remain sitting until I release him from that position. If I tell him to go to “place” (such as on a place board) then it’s a location not a position. Again, I don’t need to also say stay as staying on “place” is implied through the training. However, if you’re more comfortable in saying stay, that’s fine. Just realize it’s more for your benefit than your dog’s.

Your dog will learn faster, the more you are consistent and precise in your cues, commands and expectations. Years ago, a college roommate of mine was taking an Abnormal Psychology course. As part of his homework, he asked me to take a 500 multiple question test. I didn’t know the purpose of the test at the time but later found out it was to test a person’s consistency rate. Many of the questions resulted in the same answer but were asked in a  different way.

Michigan Dog Training, brain waves, PsychologyWhen announcing the score, he told me I was abnormal. I replied, “Abnormal!! What do you mean, I’m probably the most normal person you could find!” That’s probably a sign of an abnormal person right there LOL.

He told me that I scored 100% on the test and it was a test on consistency. He further explained that he called me abnormal as hardly anyone scores 100%. A dog training secret is that a high consistency rate is one of the main things that separate dog owners and dog trainers. And, that’s a good thing because consistency can be taught as well as dog training skills.

Dogs learn well when we chuck learning goals into smaller components and are consistent in their delivery. Once learned, we can add them together for the desired end result command. Thus if you’re consistent that a sit means a sit and a down means a down, you don’t need to give another command which is more ambiguous such as “stay.” It’s an added command that really doesn’t have as much meaning for the dog as William Shakespeare, Michigan Dog Training, To be or not to bethe desired command. For example, a dog can’t jump on you if he’s been taught to reliably respond to a sit command. Thus, the stay command is not needed.

As William Shakespeare coined, “To be or not to be,” you can decide to tell your dog “to stay or not to stay.” It’s your choice.

For more information on having your dog trained or learning how to train your own dog, contact Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan or call 734-634-4152.

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