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.

Make Dog Training Fun!

Dog training doesn’t have to be boring.  In fact, it should be fun and exciting, an awesome adventure.  When it’s fun, it’s not work.  A case in point, this weekend I was in eastern Ohio with two clients’ dogs; Joey, a Brittany Spaniel and Holly, a Golden Retriever.  As I drove through a little quaint town called Olmstead Hills, I saw a beautiful river with large stone slabs that framed it’s banks.  So I turned my truck around and decided to explore it with Joey and Holly.

They are in their early stages of obedience training but can now walk with each other on loose leashes.  So this was a perfect opportunity to explore a beautiful natural setting and practice their new obedience skills.  So what did the training session look like?  For starters, they have quickly learned that if they’re patient and wait for their leashes to be put on instead of trying to barge out of the crates; they will be verbally released to start their exploration.

Then there was the hike along the river, greeting friendly visitors along the way, exposing the dogs to numerous distractions (bicyclists, rollerbladers and playful children), exploring the river’s banks and venturing out to large stone slabs that framed the river. Of course, when they were in picturesque spots, the camera came out of my pocket so that the excursion could be later shared with their owners.  This of course provided a perfect opportunity to practice sit, down and stay as well as a place command.

At the conclusion of the fun hike (dog training session), the dogs practiced their sit stay once again while the lift gate of the truck was opened.  They calmly maintained their sit stay while the crates were opened and as they waited to be individually cued to jump into their crates. They then peacefully fell asleep and I’m sure they were dreaming about their awesome dog adventure which in truth was really a fun dog training session.

“Your Classes are So Much Fun” – Jenny Hipps King

Thank you so much!  Your classes are so much fun!  We have a blast and learn a lot!  : )      Jenny Hipps King
Doberman puppy doing sit stay place command


Sakima, a 10.5 week old Doberman owned by Jenny Hipps King, a dog training student of mine demonstrates a Sit/Stay – Place command.  Not bad for 10.5 weeks old, eh?  

Jenny did a wonderful job training her other dog Ranger in my Remote Adventures Class.  Now she and Sakima are doing an awesome job in my Basic Manners class. Nice job Jenny with both of your dogs!!