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Modifying "Wait" into "Stay"

881 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  thaliasmom
So, I've managed to have my dog for nearly a year, and have never trained her to "Stay." Oops. We have trained her to "Wait," however.

For her, "wait" means: stop your paws right there, missy, and remain in that location until otherwise notified. She is very good about this - I can have her favorite toy and sprint away from her, and she'll just wait. This is dead useful for all kinds of things like doors and juggling groceries and when I accidentally drop the leash and whatnot.

But..."wait" means "remain in that location" not "be immobile" - we've let her sit/lay down/stand up/look around etc. For "stay," I'd like to turn her into a little puppy statue.

I started reading the threads for teaching "stay," and if I need to start over I can - but since the behaviors are so similar, it seems as though there is a short-cut I just don't know yet.

I'm not sure how to change the "wait" into a more advanced and focused "stay." It seems as though "stay" is just upgrading the "wait" - but I'm not sure how to bridge that gap, and I definitely don't want to damage the "wait" that we already have.

Thanks as always for your input!
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I use both Wait and Stay. For Kayla, wait usually means,"there's another command coming" like come, sit, stand. Stay means stay until I give you the release command ("break" is her release) or return to you.

I do not think you need to start over. My suggestion is that you start by giving both the wait and stay at the same time so she can associate the two words. And then start weaning the wait out with just the stay command being used. You would still use the wait from time to time.

And then start applying the practices you want associated specifically with the stay command. See the statue, be the statue...

Once you've got that piece (and it shouldn't take that long) you can start applying the practices you want to truly apply to the stay-be the statue, immobile, etc.
I also use both.

Wait means wait there (not moving) until I give you another command.

Stay means stay there until I COME BACK TO YOU. I NEVER let the dog move from a Stay unless I am at their side.
I use "wait" very frequently, but I do not train a "stay" command.

You say you want your dog to be like a statue, but what position do you want that statue to be in? I guess that would be whatever current position she is already in. So if you want her in a sit-stay, then you would give "sit" followed by "stay". Instead of doing that, you might consider training "sit" so that she is to remain in that position until released. Then there is no need for a new command.
For me, stay means remain in that position - sit/stay or down/stay, I haven't really worked on stand/stay - until either released or given another command. I do sometimes release from a distance, with a recall command, for example, so it's not necessarily with me always returning to the dog.

Wait means don't cross this invisible line. Changing position or moving around is fine as long as there is no forward progress. Generally this is for a shorter duration, and there will be another command following. Decide what criteria makes the most sense to you and start working with that, and BE CONSISTENT.

I'd basically start over with stay. Put her in position, tell her to stay, back away a step or two, return and treat. Release. If she breaks, put her back in place and start over. I like to use a negative marker if they start to get up (ah, ah). Often, if timed right, you can prevent the dog from actually getting all the way up. Gradually work up to longer and longer times, backing away a little further, and returning immediately to give a treat and then move away again. Do this several times, and then release. You want her to learn that rewards only happen while she remains in place, and that she must do so until released.

Work on distance and duration separately, so that if she's okay with you walking the distance of a room and back, and maybe briefly out of sight for a few seconds without breaking, you can increase the time she has to remain in position, but stay close to her and give her a treat occasionally during the exercise.
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Hey guys, just thought I'd let you know...this took exactly two training sessions of less than 10 min. each. Puppy is now very consistently staying!
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