How To Teach Your Dog To STAY For Hours – As If You Had a “Magic” Pause Button
Most often people teach their dog a mediocre “Stay” command.
We take our dogs to dog obedience classes, or we try to train our puppies at home to stay, on a limited basis, while on leash; but how many people take this command seriously?
Unfortunately, I think I can answer that as a “not many” from over 20+ years of dog training experience!
Perhaps this is because people don’t realize how intricate you can make your stay command and how crucial it can be to your and your dog’s well-being.
Advanced Obedience and Teaching Your Dog to “Stay”
Many times, in advanced obedience people work on “out of sight stays”.
I try to touch on this briefly with my dogs, simply so that they do not panic when I leave them and they cannot see me; however I find that these stays are typically unnecessary for most of my real life scenarios.
I mean how often am I going to leave my dog outside of a store, or in another room for long periods of time without being able to see him/her.
Ironically, I don’t really use out of sight down stays often.
But I do utilize long down stays and vehicle stays while I pump gas.
Long Down “Stays”
Some people think this sounds so cruel!
But my dogs can do down stays for hours!
I got used to teaching this particular command when I was training Service Dogs for the disabled.
Service Dogs often spend hours lying under their master’s desk or in their office while their partner works.
These down stays are a tiny bit less structured, for instance I expect my dog to shift positions, chew on a bone and get comfortable whereas many people think a down stay means the dog can’t move at all.
In real life, I don’t need a strict down stay where my dog can’t shift his/her positioning at all.
But, I do need a down stay where my dog can lay on her bed while I eat or have company over (think holiday meals).
And, I like a stay or wait command (wait meaning the dog can’t cross the barrier) where I can leave my dog in my vehicle with the door open as I pump gas.
I am a single female, and I live near Baltimore city.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of crime in the area where I live and sometimes I need gas in places where I normally wouldn’t stop.
One of the things we used to train for in protection dog sports was leaving your dog inside the car, with the door open, and then having someone come up and pretend to mug you.
Chances are, I will never get mugged.
However, I feel more comfortable having my dog in my car with me and also leaving the door open while I pump gas.
The light from the open car door illuminates my dog’s presence to onlookers, and it also just makes me feel less at risk.
I can also get her to bark on command, should anyone get closer than I am comfortable with feeling.
It is something that I enjoy about her stay command.
I also know she would come out if I was in trouble.
But Even If That is Not a Concern for You
But even if that is not nor will ever be a concern for you, the other aspect of this kind of control, is that I never have to worry about my dog charging out of the car and running out in the street to be run over or killed by an oncoming car.
How many of you can open your vehicle or the front door of your home wide and be confident that your dog will not run outside or run away?
I can open the front door, I can open the back door, I can open the driver’s side car door, I can open the side car door and I know with acuity that my dog won’t run out.
I know from experience that not many people have this kind of control.
How To Get This Kind of Control
Change your lifestyle!
Many problems come from letting our dogs fly through doors in the first place.
Start to see doors as dangerous barriers your dog should not cross without you.
And, use a leash to teach him to wait until he is told he can come through these barriers.
In The Car
When I am working with a new or rambunctious dog in the car, I close a leash in the passenger or other car door to keep my dog from running out on his own.
This acts like a tether and helps to prepare my dog for further training.
He can sit in the passenger side and realize that just because the door is open; doesn’t mean he needs to, or gets to run outside.
It allows him to learn a little patience, while giving you some peace of mind.
Don’t forget to still watch him!
Never leave him tethered to anything if you are not there, he could get caught up and strangle.
Once opening the door no longer excites him, I can begin teaching him to simply respect the open door through many training sessions.
If he tries to come through the door, I simply close it.
Eventually, he will realize that you will not allow him to charge through.
He will wait to be commanded or you take his leash and invite him to come with you.
Again, it is critical, even if I am taking him on a ride or for a walk, that I don’t allow him to fly through the doorway… no matter how excited he is to GO.
Next, I utilize a leash.
A leash gives me control and prevents the dog from actually getting outside by accident.
If anything, I can step on the leash while working door manners, and prevent any mistakes where he might take advantage.
Then I open the door, and if, again, he tries to charge through I shut the door.
The only way to getting through the door is with patience and on command.
If you are consistent, the dog will learn.
If you have allowed door charging, it just may take many consistent dog training sessions.