Is the "Stay" command really necessary (not as stupid as it seems... read on) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Is the "Stay" command really necessary (not as stupid as it seems... read on)

Some of you may have read my post last week about our new trainer (17 years experience). Well, during one of my brief conversations with him, we got to discussing the stay command. He chuckled a bit when I mentioned it, and I was intruiged.

Well, he did make a rather good point. What's the last thing you usually tell your dog before stay? Sit, down, go to bed, crate, etc. right? Well, why should you have to reiterate that by commanding 'stay'. Shouldn't they be taught from the get go to sit, down, go to bed, crate or whatever the command is, until YOU give them the okay to do something else?

The more I thought about it, the more it kinda made sense. The bit that I'm stumped on is that many say to teach stay as a safety command, but again, if a dog gets off leash and is about to run across a street (for example ), assuming they are focused enough to pay attention to their handler, wouldn't a sit suffice just as well as stay?

Just to clarify, Jaz does know stay (assuming he can fucus on me long enough )

Discuss please?

Jaz - GSD 9/11/2009
Tarja - GSD 7/10/2010

Koda - Maine Coon ~ 2004
Aunika - DMH ~ 4/23/2010
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 03:18 PM
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Stay would be a good command in an emergency. If we are outside and a car is coming, I hold up my hand and yell Stay to Jax. She stops right where she is.

As far as obedience, he's right. Sit means Sit until I say otherwise.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 03:20 PM
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In our advanced class the trainer said kind of the same thing. The dog should be doing the last thing you tell them until you say "free". If you put them in a sit, they should theoretically stay in that same position until you release them. That said, we still worked on the stay command in that class.

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Dallas - ACD mix, 11 yrs
Willow - GSD, 5 yrs, CGC
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 03:27 PM
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The reason for the stay is so the dog knows he can relax as he doesn't have to do anything until you return. Otherwise he has to pay attention in case you tell him to do another command from a distance. Is this a critical command? No, but I don't want my dog sitting there wondering if my shoulder twitch during a stay means he needs to do something.

As an emergency command, down is probably the best. It's hard to get a sit in motion from a distance and in an emergency, whereas a down is easier. You can use stay for a stand command too in an emergency.

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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 03:49 PM
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I think it's needed because you aren't always giving a command before you tell them to stay. Like when in motion, she just get's told "stay" and will halt. Or before jumping out of the car, a stay means she needs to wait and can't come out right away.

From a purely OB point, yes, the trainer is right. From a day to day point? No, I'd say not.

But even in the OB arena...think about when you are practicing off leash distance down stays and notice there's some twitchiness going on. You aren't going to say "down" because the dog is already down. But you might want to reinforce the "stay" so they know they need to still be "staying." The perfect dog might not need a reminded after 5 minutes what they are supposed to be doing, but most dogs probably do (even perfectly behaved ones). Elsa's stay is pretty solid, but even for her if we are in class and chaos starts to happen with a few other dogs, a reminder definitely helps.

So...I do think it's needed.

J, mom to:
- Elsa - "Da Pookins"
- Medo - "The Beast From The East"
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 03:49 PM
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"Stay" is the only command that I'll give more than once. If I have Hondo at a 'sit-stay', and I'm leading a horse into the barn, I'll remind him (more for my comfort) "stay!". If a cat is wondering a little too close, and Hondo is just chilling on the porch (he hasn't see the cat) I can tell him "Stay!". The cats have learned that when they hear that word (Stay) it means "RUN!" and they will. But Hondo is at a 'stay' so he will remain still......well 98% of the time.
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 03:57 PM
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I can only address what my current dog knows, and hope to improve on the way I train the upcoming puppy... And my girl is no saint, and I sure wouldn't dare take her somewhere off leash, because she just loooves people soooo much and wants to make friends with everyone. But I have taught her to "wait" rather than "stay." I mostly taught her this to get her to wait for her food so she wouldn't be in the bowl before it's on the floor. That way she knows that she is waiting for something in particular, rather than just staying in one place. Not sure why, but this works for us so far...
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 04:05 PM
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I use "wait" and "stay" for different things. "Wait" is more of an informal "stay" to my dog.

I use stay when I open the front door and want to get the mail but don't want Raven to exit (as well as the usual ways it's used in training). I don't always give her a command because she doesn't have to be in a sit or down, but she does have to stay in the house.

I'll use wait for the food bowl or for going through doors together... she has to wait for me to let her know she can eat or go through the door.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 04:17 PM
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I agree that stay is unnecessary. We don't use it at all in Schutzhund (The Schtay is a command for stand, not stay) and I haven't really found a need for it in obedience for the same reason mentioned. When I tell my dog to Sit, they better be sitting until I tell them something else. Same with the platz. I haven't found a reason in obedience for them to relax while under command.

Around the house I have a very informal Wait command (which usually means not to maul me when I have your dinner or haul butt out the door) but nothing that means "hold position until I return" in the same way a formal stay command does. Instead I name the position adn remind them of the position I want them to be in. Additionally what you do with your body langauge can really hold a dog in position as well.

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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 04:36 PM
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Ditto to the above post. We use no stay command and see no reason to use it. Zoot (my dog) is being taught to hold the last command until the release command is given. She's doing very well at it. I love that I don't have to tell her stay constantly.
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