Comparing Techniques to Teach Stay

Today I want to discuss three videos that I saw on Youtube that all were “how-tos” on teaching “Stay”. All three techniques work, but I had likes and dislikes about each of them and I wanted to share! Each person learns and teaches differently. I applaud all three trainers for making great videos to educate the general public on how to teach their dogs with clickers! All three of these videos use clickers to mark correct behavior.

Every Dog Must Know This: How To Train Your Dog To Stay

Agree: He feeds the dog in position. He clicks before he reaches into his pouch for the reward.

Disagree: I do not think it is important to be low to the ground when beginning. He increases the duration too much too quickly for beginners. He uses corrections when he tricks the dog to go after the treat. (Personally, I believe that if you have to use corrections, you have not taught the dog correctly or enough for the level of work you are asking him to perform.) I don’t believe you can “talk some sense” into your dog.

Dog Training : How to Train Your Dog to Stay

Agree: She mentions there are three parts to this command (duration, distance, and distractions). She uses a release word to let the dog get up. Use small steps to increase distance gradually. Wait until the dog knows the behavior before adding the word to the behavior. She reminds people to have short training sessions!

Disagree: I believe you should reward (feed) the dog in the position you left them in. Don’t make them get up to get their reward or it could make them antsy to get up.

How to teach ANY dog the perfect STAY! (Part I)

Agree: Trying to teach this command too fast can cause your dog to not learn it correctly. “Don’t ask for more than they can handle.” Work on duration, distance, and distractions individually. Frequently gives rewards and feedback. Use a release word. Recommends many short sessions. Click and reward right before you think the dog will break a the stay and reward in position.

Disagree: He introduces the word “stay” too soon when the dog does not know the behavior yet. Adds too much distance and movement for real beginners (but since this is a video I’m sure he just wanted to skip a few easy, repetitive steps.)

TIP: If you have a dog that can’t stop moving, try high frequency reinforcement. I prefer giving high frequency rewards (many treats continuously one after another) without the clicker then clicking the length of time you are asking the dog to stay (when he has completed the behavior).

So as you can see, there are many different ways to teach commands. I encourage you to find the way that works for you and your dog (of course, I recommend purely positive methods with no corrections). This also applies to trainers you hire for group classes or private training, if you feel you have an idea on how to teach a command a different way, be sure to ask!