Teaching Your Dog to Stay
Stay is a nonaction command that is difficult to explain to a dog that is in perpetual motion. Stay means hold your position, until the trainer gives the release command. Stay actually has two parts, duration (the time the dog has to wait between each click and treat) and distance (how close or far you are relative to the dog). These concepts should be taught separately and only combined when the dog can do each part individually and well.
Here are the shaping steps for teaching Stay:
Start with your dog in a Sit or a Down, and count to two before you click and treat.
After you give the treat, count to two again and click and treat.
Repeat step 2 and gradually increase the number of seconds until you can get to ten seconds between each click and treat.
If the dog gets up, start over and lower the number for a click or two before increasing it again.
When you can consistently get ten seconds between each click and treat, label it “Stay.”
Shaping steps for adding distance to the Stay command:
Now that you are working on a different aspect of stay, lower your standards for time.
Start with your dog in a sit or down and shift your weight slightly left or right; click and treat if he maintains the stay.
Shuffle your feet around, and click and treat your dog for holding the stay.
Move one foot to the left or right, and click and treat if he holds the stay.
Move backward and come right back, click and treat if he holds the stay.
Gradually take more steps, always clicking and treating on your way back.
Gradually lengthen the time you are away as you see your Golden start to get it.
Add in the label “Stay” as the behavior starts to look the way you want it to.