The Stay/Wait

I'm going to talk about stay and wait; two of the more important behaviors you can teach your dog or dogs. Being a photographer I always ask if the dogs have any formal training. "Do they know what stay means?" Usually the reply is a hesitant "uh, yes." In my books stay means stay. Stay is one of those exercises that you cannot slack on; you must instill a high priority to the exercise otherwise you can never expect your dog to stay.

Stay must be trained very slow and steady. Starting out with no distractions, short and easy. With success comes length of time and distraction difficulty. If your dog is an unsteady type, a quick bolter or sneaky then you must have a leash on when you are starting out. If your dog breaks a stay and decides to do a run around the block or have a zoomie through the house, all is undone and you are left being the one trained.

Enforce, enforce, enforce. This means that the way to a solid stay is to let your dog know there is no option about staying; they must stay until you say they can move. Using stay throughout the day at unusual times can really help in the solidity of your dogs "stay." Feedback must be immediate if your dog moves and fast but calm re-placement must be in force.

Wait is another very important exercise and for me a different behavior than stay. Of course these are only the words I use for my exercises; the difference is in the exercise, it doesn't matter what word you use for either. You can use any words you want to associate a behavior to a word.

Wait is a casual stay type behavior. "Wait" until I catch up to you on a walk, "wait" until I tell you to get in the car or out of the car. "Wait" at the door until I go through. Etc. For me "wait" is casual; meaning that they can move around a bit but cannot go ahead without my consent. It is a verbal cue I use often throughout the day. If we are on a big off leash walk I can call out "wait" and they will all stop in their tracks until I catch up or give them the go ahead.

If you have never taken the time to actually teaach your dog to stay; do not expect them to have read the book.

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