Stay or Wait? Which is it? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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Stay or Wait? Which is it?

The question came up the other day between my wife when I noticed she was using the wait command when it was Bears feeding time. Isn't wait and stay the same command? Would this not be confusing to a dog? It also applies to going out a door, having them wait until we say they can exit. I have Bear sit /stay in both of these situations, and my wife uses wait. I would like to know which is best to use and if we should "can" the other one. Your thoughts and input on this matter is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 02:04 AM
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I teach stay means stay where they are until I come back to them, wait means wait until I release them to come with me, like leaving a door etc.

Forgot to add it doesn't confuse my dogs, they know the difference =)
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 02:15 AM
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For me, stay implies position - sit/stay, down/stay, etc. When I use wait I don't care what position they're in, and it's more about no forward movement, a "do not cross this line" vs staying in exactly that spot. I consider it a more casual command.

You can use one or the other command or both, but make sure that you and your wife are on the same page and not saying two different things for the exact same behavior. Since I have different criteria for stay and wait, my dogs are not confused. Determine whatever criteria makes sense for the two of you, and then be consistent.

Some people don't use a stay command at all because staying is implied whenever they give a command - sit means to remain sitting until released or given a different command, etc.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by King&Skylar View Post
I teach stay means stay where they are until I come back to them, wait means wait until I release them to come with me, like leaving a door etc.
This is how I teach it too. For my dogs "wait" also means stop if they are moving. They never get confused.

I think a dog can know more than one command that mean the same thing without getting confused. For example my dogs knows sit/down/out in English and German, so I can say "platz" or I can say "down" and she will lay down either way, and knowing both words mean to lay down does not cause her any confusion.

Where it can be confusing for them is if you use a single command to mean more than one behavior, but this can work out ok too depending on the dog and how you do it. For example my Golden knew if I told her "back" when she was standing somewhere it meant to back up (walk backwards). But if we were in the minivan and I told her "back" she knew it meant to go back to the rear seat, not to walk backwards.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 12:07 AM
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I guess it's personal preference but important everyone is using the same word for the same objective. We use stay when we don't want her to leave the spot and when waiting for a treat say "wait for it". One is for action oriented times and the other is exclusively for food times. Both are released by "ok".
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 12:17 AM
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For my dogs, stay means you stay in the spot i tell you to. Wait means you dont cross a certain line or jump out of the car until told or rush out of the crate when the door gets opened. When I take Shasta out to Petco or some other fun place, she'll try to jump out of the car before i'm ready for her to so i'll tell her to wait. Shasta also knows stop which for her means when she's on a long line or we're walking, i'll say stop and she will stop moving forward and wait for me to catch up, or in the case of stopping at corners its a safety word. When i say stop, she's not to go any further, so ideally i say stop as she's headed into the street to cross to the field, she'll stop when i say so and not cross into the street.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 01:01 AM
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I use "stay" for do not move, as in sit/stay. I use "wait" when I will give them another command, such as "front" or "get it". I also use "wait" for going thru a door or getting out of the car.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 01:22 AM
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We use "wait" if we go out the front door for example and then close the door. The dogs are free to go the other direction anytime from that command without an additional release word.

We don't use "stay" at all because it is implied when you say "stand", "down" or "sit".
But whether you choose to use "stay" or not (or imply it), the dogs are not allowed to move from those positions until given a subsequent release command. It probably shouldn't be the word "ok" either since that comes up too often in regular conversation and can release the dogs prematurely.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 10:04 AM
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Sit means sit, down means down... ie the recall in AKC obedience - sit and then they are released with the hier command or in Schutzhund for the sit in motion and down in motion. For the long sit and down, I will use the stay command after they are in position - which means you are to stay here until I return.

Training with my hunting friend. Wait- you wait here until I come back, stand for exam, in conformation ring for the stand. Whoa or whup (depending on dog) is used for hunting training when the dog sees a bird and must stop and indicate the bird. Then they are released with a light tap on the head and OK for the retrieve.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 11:46 AM
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I am not consistent enough to train them different. I know I should say WAIT when I am going to call, but I don't, with my best intentions, I still don't. My dogs understand that STAY or WAIT means that they stay in the position I left them until I release or call them. So I use them interchangeably with the STAY command being used about 85% of the time.

Of course half of the time I call them by the wrong name. They seem very accepting of my disability and come anyway. Kind of scary what they could be if I wouldn't say things like SIT when I mean HEEL.

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