The sit stay is one of the essential control exercises all dogs should learn. It is really useful as it allows us to ensure where our dog is and that he is not getting into any danger or mischief when we are otherwise occupied. It is something I use all the time in practical scenarios, for example when out in the fields I ask my dogs to stay and wait whilst I feed my llamas and other animals.
When teaching the stay there are three things to take into consideration I call these : the three Ds
1. Distance- the distance you leave him
2. Duration- the length of time you leave him
3. Distraction- the level of distraction
Each of these is important and should be worked on.
Step 1 your dog needs to be happy to sit by your side for a period of time before you can consider leaving him
• start with your dog on a lead by your side. With your lead in your left hand ask him to stay, I also recommend giving a hand signal with your right hand.
• take a short pace to the right leaving your left leg in situ raise your left hand above your dogs head, make sure you the lead remains slack with no pressure to the collar unless he moves when you can apply slight pressure upwards on his collar.
• After several seconds return to your original position. Do not praise him immediately instead count to five and give calm praise and a tasty treat such as Natural Instincts beef jerky.
• Once your dog is doing step 2 well you can progress by moving a short pace to the right.
• The next stage is to leave your dog in front start with a short pace with your left hand holding the lead over his head .
• The next step is to leave him to the end of the lead being careful not to put any forward tension on the lead as this will cause him to walk towards you.
• Once he understands drop the lead and increase the distance.
Dos and Don’ts
If your dog makes a mistake don’t worry just calmly take him back to where you originally left him and go to the stage you know he understands.
Never recall your dog from a stay always return to him.
Never punish your dog if he moves this will only stress him and make him less inclined to stay.
Do not praise him immediately on returning as he will start to anticipate it which is likely to cause him to move.
Praise should be calm and definitely not excitable.
Praise him in the position you left him once you release him cease the praise.