How to teach your dog to “stay”
After your dog has mastered sit and lie down, he can begin to learn stay. Just as with “come,” “stay” is a command that can help keep your dog safe, and is especially important for people without fenced in yards, or apartment dwellers that need to make sure their pup doesn’t run outside every time the door is opened.
Steps to follow
To begin, first put your dog in a “sit” or “down” position. Say “stay” and hold your hand up as you take two or three steps backward. Then, put your hand down and say “free” and encourage your dog to come to you. As soon as your dog leaves the sitting or down position, issue a reward and positive reinforcement. If your dog moves before you tell him he is “free,” say “no” and start the process over. In the beginning you may find it necessary to shorten the amount of time you are asking him to stay, as some dogs have shorter attention spans than others. Over time you will be able to lengthen the duration of the command, but remember to always release him by saying “free” (or something similar like “ok”) or else your dog may become confused and think he can break the stay without being told to do so. Once your dog can stay for 10 – 15 seconds, begin practicing the command with a greater distance between you and your dog.
Some things to keep in mind
Stay can be a difficult command for dogs to learn, because they naturally want to be near their owners (and, after all, you have probably already taught him the benefits of coming when called!) If your Beaglier continues to break the command, calmly tell him “no” each time. Feedback is important, and will help your dog learn that moving without being told do so is inappropriate. Also avoid placing a treat in the hand being used to signal “stay.” Seeing the treat will further entice the dog to run towards you. As with all important commands, practice and positive reinforcement is crucial. Treat your dog as if he just found a million bucks the first time he nails “stay,” and you will find that subsequent practice sessions will be easier.
Also, keep in mind that the younger the puppy, the more time you may need to spend in teaching her a new command. Younger puppies also have shorter attention spans so keep the training sessions shorter than you think they can handle.