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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 :rolleyes:)

Discuss please?
 

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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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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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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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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.
 

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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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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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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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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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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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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. :)

i have used this before, my dog will not do commands from far away, but when i say stay she knows she is not allowed to move.
 

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I know some people train without a separate 'stay' command and that is fine, but personally I find that having a separate 'stay' command makes for a more solid stay. I even use a different command depending on if I am going to call my dog out of position-- I use 'wait' for that.
If I just tell my dog to sit or down it means to get into that position, not to hold that position forever. Sometimes I'll tell them to sit and then I want them to do something else, and I don't want to have to give the release word every time I give any command, and sometimes I may tell the dog to do something in passing and I don't want the dog to be staying there waiting for me to give a release (or possibly getting up on their own eventually, thus weakening the training to stay in place.)

If I want my dog to stay in position I will tell them to 'stay' and they know it means do not move until/unless I come back to them AND give the release word. This helps to keep the stay stronger because I never call my dog out of a stay or give another command-- they will stay put until I come back next to them and give the release.
If I tell the dog "wait" they know it means stay in place until I give another command, but if I tell them to "stay" they know to wait for both the spatial cue (me being next to them) and the verbal cue before they can move. I trained my Golden that way and she had a rock-solid stay. We did some 'stay contests' with our therapy dog org where the dogs were lined up in a down-stay and the dog who stayed the longest was the winner. There are all very well trained dogs. After a few minutes the 'officials' did different things like tossing treats and toys, walking around the dogs, running, crouching down a few feet in front of the dogs, clapping, making kissy noises, saying "here girl" etc... Eventually only my Golden and one other dog were left, and they tried even harder to get one of them to break and neither did so both were declared the winners.

If we were moving and I wanted my dog to stop I used "wait" rather than stay. I also taught my Golden "STOP!" meaning to stop dead in her tracks until released, because I figured if there was an emergency I might not remember the obedience commands (or someone else might not know them) and would be most likely to yell STOP!
 

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I know some people train without a separate 'stay' command and that is fine, but personally I find that having a separate 'stay' command makes for a more solid stay. I even use a different command depending on if I am going to call my dog out of position-- I use 'wait' for that.
If I just tell my dog to sit or down it means to get into that position, not to hold that position forever. Sometimes I'll tell them to sit and then I want them to do something else, and I don't want to have to give the release word every time I give any command, and sometimes I may tell the dog to do something in passing and I don't want the dog to be staying there waiting for me to give a release (or possibly getting up on their own eventually, thus weakening the training to stay in place.)

If I want my dog to stay in position I will tell them to 'stay' and they know it means do not move until/unless I come back to them AND give the release word. This helps to keep the stay stronger because I never call my dog out of a stay or give another command-- they will stay put until I come back next to them and give the release.
If I tell the dog "wait" they know it means stay in place until I give another command, but if I tell them to "stay" they know to wait for both the spatial cue (me being next to them) and the verbal cue before they can move. I trained my Golden that way and she had a rock-solid stay. We did some 'stay contests' with our therapy dog org where the dogs were lined up in a down-stay and the dog who stayed the longest was the winner. There are all very well trained dogs. After a few minutes the 'officials' did different things like tossing treats and toys, walking around the dogs, running, crouching down a few feet in front of the dogs, clapping, making kissy noises, saying "here girl" etc... Eventually only my Golden and one other dog were left, and they tried even harder to get one of them to break and neither did so both were declared the winners.

If we were moving and I wanted my dog to stop I used "wait" rather than stay. I also taught my Golden "STOP!" meaning to stop dead in her tracks until released, because I figured if there was an emergency I might not remember the obedience commands (or someone else might not know them) and would be most likely to yell STOP!


great examples! i use wait a lot, so the dog knows to stay just for a moment because im going to tell them something next, other wise stay means i might leave the room and they can lay down and just wait for me
 

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As JKlatsky said, in Schutzhund there is no stay command. Dog is expected to hold position until release or given another command.

In agility, however, I use "Stay" and I release my dog from the "stay" not with another command but with "okay".

In everyday life I will use the "Stay" command just to remind the doggies what they need to do. Just a little handler help to make life easier for everyone.
 

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There is no need in SchH for a stay command because there are no hand signals for the dog to be watching for and the only time they move from a distance on an exercise is the recall and that's right away. An obedience dog has to watch all the time for hand signals at the upper levels and you really don't want them to misinterpret any twitching on your part during a stay, so you tell them to stay.
 

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Whether one uses the "Stay" command depends, to me, on how you were taught what the Sit, Stand or Down command includes. That is, does sit imply a Sit/Stay as some trainers teach or does the handler actually say to the dog Sit and then Stay. I learned them originally as separate commands but have switched with my current dog to expecting the stay when i tell him Sit or Stand or Down (don't always get a long one yet but I do expect it!).
 

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I had to start using stay after sit because Annie would sit as long as I was facing her, but when I tried to walk around her she would get up.
Stay reinforced the sit because I guess I didn't teach sit good enough. :)
 

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as far as running into the street
i think you should teach your dog
not to run into the street, distractions included.
i can stop my dog by saying "stop", "wait", "no"
or if i yell sharply "hey". if i call my dogs name
he also stops and sometimes he stops
and turns to look at me and waits for another command.
if tell my dog to sit or down and walk away he holds
that position without me saying stay but i still say
"stay". my last GSD was taught to walk with me
if i led off with my left leg and to stay if i led
off with my right leg. i feel like i'm insuring stay
if i say "stay".
 

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Except in the case where it is used as a single command to stay still, it is redundant. If I tell my dog to sit or down they should stay in that position until released or called.
 
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