Help With Teaching "Stay"

Discussion in 'Obedience Training' started by driven, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. driven New Member

    I am working on training my boyfriend's dachunds to stay. He has 3 and I have been working with one at a time. It is definitely difficult for them to pay attention when the others are crying and barking in the other room. I am not sure what to do about that. If I put them outside they will do the same thing. The house is kind of small too so even if we were to go in a different room the dog I am working with would still hear the others.

    But that is not the only issue. I just plain am having trouble teaching this command. The way I am trying to do it (maybe I am doing something wrong here) is I have them sit right in front of me at first then wait for a second before clicking and rewarding them for keeping still. Then I do it again but this time wait a couple more seconds. If I could get them that far I would then slowly expand the amount of time then take a step backwards and wait a couple of seconds before clikcking.

    They just do not seem to get it at all. They won't keep still. They just instantly get up and start moving around again. Am I going about this the wrong way? What can I do to help them understand what it is that I want? And it is not just because they are distracted by the other dogs. I think they wouldn't stay still anyways.

    Need some help here. Thank you ahead of time to everyone who replies! It is very much appreciated!

    What is the difference between the commands "stay" and "wait"?

  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    Well I would recommend that if you want a strong and reliable sit & stay, that you place them back in a sit if they get up without your release word. Keep a short leash on them and when they get up, step on it, grab it and lift up so that the dog goes back in the sit position. Keep reinforcing good behaviors and always release with "Okay" which means that the exercise is over. :)

    You should welcome the distractions. If you are ever going to use the Stay command, then there will be distractions. Especially if you are in a park or any other environment, so your dog must learn to ignore these distractions.

    That is my way of doing it - not sure if everybody else will agree with my technique but ah well.
  3. fickla Experienced Member

    The way that I like to teach stay is by rewarding during the behavior, not when they are done. I want my dog's to learn that as long as they sit still, the treats keep coming but they go away when they get up; so even when I release them they would want to start the stay again.

    So I start by having them in a sit, tell them stay, and then immediately start popping treats into their mouths. If they get up, I say "ah ah" or something sharp and put them right back where they were. But generally, if you give treats fast enough and stay right in front of them they're not going to get up. The way that I increase time is by gradually having longer and longer time between treats, but in the beginning a treat every second is good. when I am done, I say "ok" encourage them to get up, but don't give a treat!

    I also find that most dogs learn duration a lot faster then distance. So I don't take one step away from them until they will stay at least 15 seconds in front of me with very few treats given. This is just the way I teach it though :)

    And for me, the difference between stay and wait is that wait means hang on for a second, don't cross that line. When I use wait the dogs are free to move about and change positions, but they can't cross a line- like the car door, front door, gate, etc.
  4. driven New Member

    Thank you so much. I will try both things to see what works best for each dog then let you know how it goes. :msnohyes:
  5. drgnrdr New Member

    This is how I teach stay.
    Wait means "pause don't go forward until allowed", "hang on a sec." it puts your dog on temporary hold.
    Stay: (this is a control word) It means freeze in the position I put you in until I return to you.
    We do not use distance or distraction with this stay command. This is only Duration with the stay. We must teach them what it means to stay put for longer periods of time. We build the time up slowly. They can move their heads, but not their body, but remember whatever a dog is looking at, that is what they are focused on. They do not have to keep eye contact on you at all times, but make sure they are reminded they are in a stay, and can not move from that position until you release them.
    You should have a good 30 second sit/stay and down/stay before adding distractions slowly, then you can add distance slowly.
    (If using a clicker, do not use it for stay)
    Three rules to remember with stay:
    1. Do not release them from a distance (1)
    2. Do not release with a treat, (meaning: don't give them a treat when you release them, and make sure they finish any treat you've given them before you release them). (2)
    3.Briefly flash your hand cue at them. Do not leave your hand there. Some dogs make this part of the cue word and you will always have to keep your hand there, and doing duration you may get tired of holding it up, plus if you ever turn or remove your hand in the event of doing something else they will get up, thinking you released them, because the hand is no longer there.
    How to teach stay
    Put your dog into a sit and using the flat palm of your open hand, put it in front of your dogs face and say “stay”, remove your hand from their face and count 2 seconds then say “yes” (PWM) and treat them, say good dog and then Release them, make sure they finish their treat before you release them. Once they don’t move at 2 seconds then ask for 3 seconds, then when they get good at 3 seconds ask for 4 seconds, and so on. Go slow don’t ask for to long and/or jump to longer periods, don’t ask for 10 seconds if they haven’t done 7 seconds yet.
    They must remain in the same position and direction you put them in.
    If they start to move IMMEADIATELY use your Neg. Word Marker, like uh-uh or eh, and put them back into position by telling them to sit or down again. You must correct them when they first start to get up, not after they take 1 or 2 steps. If they even look like they are going to move use your NWM (Eh!) and repeat the "stay" cue word and hand signal. You can treat them as long as they stay in the position you put them in.
    Rules number 1 and 2 explained:
    (1.)DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM THEM/or leave the house with them in a stay when you go to work. Releasing your dog at a distance, such as telling them to come, rewards the movement and the come not the stay behavior. Leaving them when you depart the house, they will not stay there, they will get up, destroying your stay, they move and release themselves. You want to release them, don’t let them think they have the option of releasing when they feel like it or sometimes you release them, other times they do it. Always release your dog yourself.
    (2). Releasing with a treat makes them think the treat is the release and they will not wait for your release word or they start to anticipate it because they want a treat. Treating them after you release them rewards movement not the stay behavior, we want to reward the stay behavior not the movement.
    You will have a hard time getting a reliable stay if you release from a distance or with a treat. It can be done it just takes longer and is more work for you.
    Loki's mom likes this.
  6. Jean Cote Administrator

    That reminds me of the old obedience days! :dogsmile: Thanks for your very detailed post drgnrdr!
  7. drgnrdr New Member

    am I aging myself? ha ha
    Actually this is not completely the way we use to teach it 30 or even 20 yrs ago, I modified my approach to stay once I started to study dog learning theory and methodology.
    I figured out the dog got rewarded for come when in the stay and I released at a distance, that's how we USE to do it, teach stay then after 10 seconds we would walk away and tell them to come. But yeah almost a walk down memory lane..:msngrin:
  8. driven New Member

    Wow, thank you drgnrdr! That is very helpful advice! I have been teaching my puppy Nevada to stay then releasing him with the come command. I'm so glad you told me about that, I am definitely not going to do it that way anymore.

    Question. What if the dog gets up as they are eating the treat before you release them? What if the dog does a perfect stay for a few seconds then breaks it as you are walking back towards them to give them a treat?

    I am going to try this and work on it then get back to you and let you know how it goes and if we have any problems, ok? Thanks for helping!!:dogsmile:
  9. drgnrdr New Member

    okay, how far are you going and how did you add distance?
    For my ppl, I tell them to add distance SLOWLY, tell them sit and stay then take one step away from them, wait 3 seconds then return, treat, (calmly)praise, let them finish the treat, then release them for a bit, then try again, you need to get at least 10 seconds at a foot away before you step away 2 feet for 3 usually works better if you add distraction first before distance, so when you do walk a way, you moving is not such a strange occurence,
    Distraction:Standing in front of the dog, tell them "sit" then "stay" I slowly take one small step to the left, 2 to the right then 1 to the left, (you should be standing back in front of dog now)and treat, calmly praise and release. Do this faster and faster,as you progress, then do a little jig in front of them, if they move or even look like they're thinking of moving I correct"Uh-UH' or "EH!" (put them back into the sit if they got up)"Stay". Try to go all the way around them, slowly take one step to their left, then to their right, go further as your dog gets better at it.
    You need to correct them IMMEADIATELY if they start to get up, not when they already are walking around. Then start to do distance slowly.

    Eating the treat then them getting up means they have learned to release themselves they don't think or trust you will, do you tell them "done or "release after you ask them to sit, tell them good puppy, then let it go, then they get up when they feel like it, you don't correct it?
    If they get up before they finish, start to tell them stay again when you give them the treat, and pet them UNDER the chin and calmly praise them, and as they finish eating give your release word after they swallow. If they still get up, put them back into the required position, and tell them stay for a few seconds, then only praise then release them, they have to do it for free if they do it wrong.
    It sounds like you had them stay then returned gave a treat and they think the task is done because you returned and the treat came, they learn the routine. And they are anticipatiing the release. That's why doing duration, distraction and distance at the same time is not a good ideal.
    Hope that helps.
  10. driven New Member

    Thanks! That actually has not been the case, I asked those questions incase it would happen, not because it did. I wanted to make sure I have everything straight before I work on it again.:dogsmile: I am going to try to work on it Monday or Tuesday when I go over there next. I will let you know how it goes. Thanks again, so much.:dogsmile:

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