I have Remy doing a pretty decent sit and down (not for show, just for family), and now need to work on "stay". What are some good ways to get him to understand this command? It has been FOREVER since I have had a puppy! Thea came trained! LOL
As Mara said, start short. Take one step away, do only 1 or 2 seconds if that is all Remy can handle at this stage. Do keep him on leash if this will help.
If he doesn't get what "stay" means, start with a down, and crouch down to hold him down while you do a Oh-so-graceful duck waddle, step away, wait 1 second, step back (all this still crouching and holding him down with one hand), release with a treat (okay, now you can stand!) and play and party time, whoohoo!!! Gradually you can just bend over and hold your hand out over his back to block him if he tries to get up.
DON'T RUSH THIS! Stay at one or two or five seconds until it is solid! Do this for two or three weeks if neccessary before going longer. If you find that Remy just keeps boucing up, or coming to you, you are leaving him for too long. He isn't ready. Go back and work on shorter intervals.
At 7 months, he still has a very short attention span. Practice 2 or three times a day, for a few repetitions each time. Work up to 1 minute (both in a sit position and a down position), work around distractions and different situations (for example, he always bounces out of the car and starts running for his toys on the lawn? Nothing wrong with that, but once in a while, make him do a down-stay of a few seconds when he comes out of the car, then release and let him get his toys, just good mental discipline and training to mix things up and remind him that he lives and breathes by your say so!
You should work up to 5 or 10 minute down-stays and longer, but do it gradually, over a period of MONTHS!
I've posted this before, but I've found this technique to be very effective so here it is again.
As I'm sure you know with training you want to mark/reward the behavior the moment it happens. When teaching sit at first, the moment that rear end starts towards the ground they get the treat/click instantaneously. With stay, a lot of people work to get a stay and then reward the release word. Sorta of like "You did a good stay. Good boy. Here's a treat."
But to the dog that means as long as I stay, I get nothing. When staying is over, I get a treat. I guess I should break stay as soon as possible.
So instead, get a lot of small treats. Tell your pup to stay. If he stays for 1/2 a sec (or less) say "Good stay" and give him a treat. As long as he stays, he gets another treat. Like a treat every 1/2 second. Do this for a few seconds. Then you say your release word, "Free!" (or whatever) and turn around--the treats stop. The odds are he is now thinking: "Well as long as I stay, I get treats. Once I stop the party is over." After he gets this you can start giving treats at 1 sec intervals, then 2 sec, etc. You can walk 1 step away, come back, "good stay!", another treat, then 2 steps, then 3, etc. The point is he is always rewarded for actually staying and not for the end of staying.
I also use Colorado's method. Makes staying as fun as the release. It's so much fun, that your dog may get sticky, and want to hold the stay after the release in hopes of more treats. When you get to that stage, you can, on the release, throw a treat a few feet forward so your dog will be ready to leap away (good if you're thinking of doing agility) on the release but won't want to break the stay before hearing the magic word.