Tips for Teaching a Great Stay

CATCH Students Showcasing Strong Technique with Shelter Dogs – and Getting Results

by David Muriello

Check out the quick video below for some great examples of training technique by CATCH student Ed with shelter dog, Manny. Manny is doing a down-stay outdoors with distraction (there is another dog passing by in the distance off camera behind Ed). The added challenge is that Ed is doing a “walk-around”. To perform the Stay, Manny should not get up until Ed has completely circled around behind him and then given him the”OK” cue to release.

Here are the elements of technique that we really like:

  • Ed teaching Manny a “walk-around” Stay with distractions.

    Ed has Manny’s attention and focus, even though they are outdoors.

    • They have practiced this indoors with consistent success, so Ed has chosen an appropriate level of difficulty at the appropriate time.
    • Ed is using a high value reward that he knows Manny likes (in this case a “trail mix” of cheese/hot dogs/kibble).
  • Ed’s body language is clear and consistent. He shows no extra movements with his hands that would be confusing to the dog. He always keeps his “treat hand” at his side or behind his back. His speed in going around Manny stays consistent.
  • Ed breaks the behavior down into small steps that Manny can succeed with: going part way around the circle, then half, then full) and he rewards each step along the way.
  • Ed uses the “yes” marker when he reaches peak distance from Manny and then goes right back to front to deliver the reward between the paws. Manny is always rewarded while he is still in the Down position where he started, so the Stay behavior is strongly reinforced.
  • After Ed makes a complete circle, he gives Manny a clear cue to release from the Stay. The response is then rewarded with loving praise that Manny adores (and then an opportunity to “go sniff”).

With this solid foundation, Ed could continue to add the 3 D’s: distance, duration, and distraction. In just a few more training sessions, there is no doubt that Manny will be performing an impressive outdoor Stay from long distances. Great job by both Ed and Manny!

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Are you a fanatic for learning more about behavior and training?  CATCH courses and workshops go beyond basic obedience to help students work with dogs that have behavioral issues. We find the problem-solving process to be fascinating: from basic issues like jumping, pulling, barking, and house training to learning about the more advanced challenges like fear and aggression cases. Many of our students turn their passion for dogs into newfound skills and use them to work with dogs that otherwise would not have the easiest time finding a forever home. Get in touch with us to learn more!

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