Most of the dogs I see professionally, as well as most of those who grace my personal life, are in serious need of some practice with relaxation. So I concentrate a lot of my energy, as I have discussed before, on helping dogs develop a strong relaxed down.
However, there are many of times that call for a strong stay without the relaxation. To clarify, since “wait” and “stay” can be used in different ways, in these cases we are looking for the dog to hold his or her location until released. Holding a certain posture is less critical.
- Stay in the car. Stop me if this has been you. The dog and a bag of ________ [groceries, laundry, fill in the blank] are in the back of the car. You park the car, get out, and open the back. Before you can grab the bag, out pops the dog. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a strong stay so that the dog doesn’t get out of the car until you are ready?
- Stay at the door. At least once during every round of classes, I hear about a dog dashing through the door/gate and around the neighborhood. I have to say, I have been here myself. Teaching your dog to wait at the door will save your peace of mind, as well as uncomfortable dashes through the neighborhood. But keep in mind that no training is proof against every distraction, so you should still keep your door or gate secured whenever possible
- Stay on the stairs. Dogs and stairs are a bad combo. Especially if you happen to be on the stairs as well. Especially if you have something in your arms. Teaching your dog to stay as you go up and down the stairs can save you near misses or, worse, a nasty fall. You can also teach your dog to go up or down first on cue.
- Stay on a walk. I feel fortunate to live in a neighborhood with good sidewalks and a lot of nice wide bike paths. However, there are some situations where even the widest bike path is not wide enough. If I think my dog might react to something about people approaching us (usually clothing) or know that someone approaching might react to use (usually a not-friendly dog), I like to move off the path. And then I can ask for a stay until the problem has passed by.
How do you use your stay?