Aiming for the perfect 'stay'

SIMON GOODALL
Last updated 11:56 20/02/2013

Do you look with envy when you see a dog in a shop doorway in a perfect "stay", not budging or looking worried and not tied up to anything? Do you think that is impossible, and the owners mus have got the perfect dog?

Oska and Luccas
  Oska and Luccas have learnt what 'stay' means.
Not quite! You see, working on training your dog does take time and some consistency. "Stay" is a hot topic of mine as many dogs will stay for short periods or when it's quiet but not when there are distractions. It is all too often the complaint we hear.

So how do you make them stay while there are distractions such as visitors at home? The first thing is make sure that after you say "stay" and walk away while the dog stays, you always return to your dog. If you call it away from a stay at a distance it will start failing as it assumes you are about to call it.

Next step is add some simple distractions. For example, I remember when working with my dog getting my kids to run up and down, throwing food on the ground, bouncing a ball and even walking past with the cats. The dogs soon learned that the stay command was always reinforced with a little treat to start with, but then they learned that the command was always stay in that position and don't move.

So if you have a dog that does move when there are distractions, slowly but surely start adding those distractions. Given a few weeks you should be well on your way to having that perfect dog outside the shops!

Simon Goodall is CEO of Dog Guru Ltd. See them on Facebook and Twitter

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