Training Your Dog with the Sit-Stay Command

Part of the Dog Training For Dummies Cheat Sheet

The Sit-Stay command is one of the most useful commands you can train your dog to obey. You can use it to teach your dog not to jump on people and to wait before he can go in or out of a door, up or down stairs, or in and out of the car. In general, this command is essential for when you want your dog to remain quietly in one spot.

Here are the steps to follow when teaching your dog the Sit-Stay command on leash:

  1. Start with your dog sitting at your left side, both of you facing in the same direction.

  2. Put the ring of his collar on top of his neck and attach the leash to the collar.

  3. Put the loop of the leash over the thumb of your left hand and fold the leash accordion-style into your hand, with the part of the leash going toward the dog coming out at the bottom of your hand.

    Hold the leash as close to the dog’s collar as you comfortably can. The farther away from the dog’s collar you hold your hand, the less control you have. Apply a little upward tension on the collar — just enough to let him know the tension is there, but not enough to make him uncomfortable.

  4. Say “Stay” and step directly in front of your dog, turn to face him, keeping the tension on the collar.

  5. Count to ten, step back to his side, release tension, praise, and release your dog with “Okay” (or whatever word you choose) as you take several steps forward.

    Over the course of several sessions gradually increase the distance in front of the dog and the length of time he has to stay.

After your dog is comfortable with the Sit-Stay, increase the distance to 3 feet in front, while introducing distractions. Practice until your dog will stay on and off leash around distractions. Reinforce the Sit-Stay every time your dog greets you.

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