Teaching the stay is a progessive exercise........ never progress to the next level until you and the puppy have mastered the current level. To start, I like to sit next to the puppy and ask him for the "sit". ( Go back to the page for teaching the "Sit" and use that technique to get puppy to sit, if necessary.) Then I say "Stay" and count to 10, then praise. Next I ask for a sit, then give the command "stay" and count to 20, gradually progressing to 1 minute that I did NOT have to repeat the command &/or that the puppy got up. In between each "Sit/Stay", I walk the puppy around with lots of Praise at the end of the sit/stay exercise.
Once the puppy is steady for one minute with you sitting or kneeling beside him, start the process again with you Standing Up beside him.....if your puppy has correctly mastered the first part, you will quickly progress to a one minute sit/stay with you standing beside him. Remember....you do not go to the next level until the current exercise is mastered!
Now, with the puppy on your left side, tell the puppy to stay and step DIRECTLY in front of him......your toes and his toes are practically touching and you are looking down at his adoring little face :-). Remember to always tell the puppy what to do, then do it. In this case, you tell him "Stay", THEN you step in front. This is an excellent habit to get into when working with any dog and it's a lot less confusing for the dog! Again, you are working up to a one minute sit/stay. If he even looks like he's considering getting up, remind him to stay but don't become a broken record by saying a stream of stay,stay,stays.
Puppies are usually pretty good at this, so a good time frame to progress from sitting beside the pup to standing in front for one minute is about 7 days.....sometimes a lot less, but do not get overconfident ......remember we are dealing with a puppy - short attention spans rule!
Once the pup is steady for one minute with you in front, try stepping in front and standing there about 15 seconds, hold your hand up ( in a "stop"....hand up, palm towards the pup) and give another stay command, then back up one step. Do this exercise until you can work up until 2 minutes. Once mastered, back up 2 steps, 2 minutes....then 3 steps, work up to 2 minutes and so on until you can stand about 10 feet away and the puppy will remain in place for 3 minutes. ****Congradulations.....you can pass the Novice class' long sit exercise!!!!
The secret to having a dog be reliable on the long sit is to build steadiness at close range - the quicker to correct him - and then to add distance.
Now on to the DOWN!
Authored and contributed by Sandra Fikes-Kalahari Ridgebacks.