Stay & Wait

Exercise Instructions & Handouts

 
 

Exercise 1: Sit - Hand Signal

  1. Place a smelly and attractive treat in front of the dog’s nose while the dog is standing, and move it upwards and backwards in a diagonal motion. As their head moves up to follow the treat, their rear will go down.

  2. When the dog reaches the sit position, punctuate that moment with a verbal “yes!” or click.

  3. Feed a treat reward for finding the position.

Now that your dog is getting used to the motion, we are going to remove the food lure from the context, and start to create a hand signal for sit. Be careful that you are not also saying a verbal cue while practicing this exercise. We want to ensure that we have multiple ways to cue the behavior, and if we start to pair them together, you will always have to perform both cues at the same time to get your dog to sit.

Now before repeating the exercise, take your treat, and put it into the opposite hand. Pretend that your hand still has the treat in it, and perform the same “lure” motion you just did. When your dog’s rear hits the ground, punctuate the moment with a “yes!” or a click and feed them the treat from your other hand. Repeat each time moving your hand a little faster, this is now your hand signal for sit.

Exercise 2: Sit - Verbal Cue

Take a step in any direction, then stand still and quietly wait for your dog to think through the pattern of behavior which has previously made a reward appear. Make sure to ignore your dog while you wait, so that they learn effectively to get your attention using polite behavior.

  1. Say “Sit” once, and wait for the behavior to follow. Your dog will need to think and process, so be patient.

  2. After a few moments your dog will hesitantly sit, as this has worked in previous exercises.

  3. Mark the moment they hit the correct position with a verbal “yes!” Or click, and praise and reward with a treat.

  4. Take another step and repeat until the sit becomes the immediate response to the verbal cue.

    Exercise 3: Down from a Sit - Hand Signal (Method 1)

With your dog in the sit position, put an attractive treat in front of his or her nose.

  1. Slowly lower the treat to the floor so that your dog’s front legs lower. Be careful not to pull the treat too far forward asthis will cause your dog to get up to follow the treat.

  2. Mark the moment your dog hits the position with a verbal “yes!” Or a click, reward and repeat a couple of times.

After a few repetitions remember to remove the lure and begin practicing with a hand signal. We want to be careful that the dog is not confusing the presence of the treat as a necessary context for performing the behavior.

Exercise 4: Down from a Stand - Hand Signal (Method 2)

The next method for luring the “down” position is called the “fold-back down”, the reason being that you start from the standing position and the dog is expected to bend it’s legs and fold into the down. Here is what that looks like:

  1. Place a treat in front of your dog’s nose while standing and move it downwards towards the ground, while at the same time pushing the treat back towards the dogs elbows.

  2. As their head moves to follow the treat, their body will lower. When the dog’s elbows touch the ground, Click or mark with a verbal “yes!”.

  3. Feed and treat and repeat, then try without a treat, each time increase the speed of your motion.

This turns your “lure” into a hand signal.

Exercise 5: Down Verbal Cue

Take a step in any direction, then stand still and quietly wait for your dog to think through the pattern of behavior which has previously made a reward appear. Make sure to ignore your dog while you wait, so that they learn effectively to get your attention using polite behavior.

  1. Say “Down” once, and wait for the behavior to follow. Your dog will need to think and process, so be patient.

  2. After a few moments your dog will hesitantly lower, as this has worked in the recent repetitions.

  3. Mark the moment they hit the correct position with a verbal “yes!” Or click, and praise and reward with a treat.

  4. Take another step and repeat until the down position becomes the immediate response to hearing the verbal cue.

Exercise 6: Release Cue

Aside from the Base Position, we need to teach your dog a cue that gives them information about when it IS time to move. We call this a release cue. The way that we will help your pup to discriminate the right from wrong responses, is by cuing the base position, but only rewarding AFTER we use the release cue. Let’s get started by reviewing our base position and introducing our release cue.

  1. Cue your base position, “Sit” or “Down”

  2. As soon as your dog gets into position say your release cue such as “Free!” Take a big step backward (to encourage your dog to stand up and follow you).

  3. Reward and Repeat.

Exercise 7: Wait for Food Bowl

  1. Put a treat in the food bowls provided and hold it up by your face.

  2. Cue your dog for a base position.

  3. As soon as your dog reaches the base position, begin to lower the bowl slowly toward the ground, and say your “Wait” cue(ONCE).

  4. If your dog moves from base position, quickly raise the bowl back to your starting position. Reset your dog to base position, and begin again.

  5. When you get the bowl to the ground, use your release cue to tell your dog that they may now have their reward.
    Repeat, and increase your duration over time.

Exercise 8: Wait at Door

  1. Standing by a closed door (start with an internal door in your home, so that your dog isn’t too excited about getting out).

  2. Cue your dog to base position, and say your “Wait” cue (ONCE).
    Begin to open the door as long as your dog stays in base position.

  3. If your dog moves from base position, simply close the door, reset and start again.

  4. Once you get the door open, give your release cue, step through the threshold and reward on the other side.

  5. Repeat!

Exercise 9: Stay

  1. Cue your dog for a base position, and say your “Stay” cue (ONCE).

  2. Take one step backwards and return.

  3. Feed your dog a treat if they stayed in place, then release, reset, and try again.

  4. Build up to 2 steps, 3 steps, 6 steps, 8 steps, 10 steps, jogging in place, etc. until you can get all the way across the room.

  5. Practice, Practice, Practice! And most importantly have fun!

 

Stay & Wait Training Task Checklist

Click document to download the complete version.

Click document to download the complete version.

 

Troubleshooting Stay & Wait

Help! My dog is stuck on treats, and won’t come unless he or she can see them.

 

Remember, this class can be repeated as often as needed until you reach your training goals. Additionally, other beginner level manners and obedience classes include:

Come When Called

Greeting People Without Jumping

Teething, Nipping & Chewing

Counter Surfing & Begging

Loose Leash Walking

Stay & Wait

Door Dashers - Preventing Escape

Mat Work & Relaxation

Desensitization for Grooming, Handing and Veterinary Procedures