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Ok, here's the issue I'm having lately:

Daisy is six months old. She is very well behaved, not wild or crazy. Does very well in crowds, exceptional actually. We've been out to flea markets and other crowded events and she walks by my side, leaves things be on command, etc. Sits on command, goes in her crate, knows not to come out of the crate after I open the door till I say "come", knows when she's on the leash and I stop walking to sit at my feet. However....... we're having an issue with "stay". Here's the training process I've used with other dogs, including her older sister, and its always worked fine.

Have her sit. Say "stay" and step back. Do it again. If she starts to move, "no". Get about five feet or so away, then "come". click/treat. Repeat, each time increasing the distance. If she gets up and comes without being called, reset and start from the beginning.

She sits, but then when I step back either comes to me and sits or runs to a toy or something else. The main issue seems to be focus control.

This is a basic command she absolutely MUST grasp. Any suggestions ya'll?
 

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maybe she's getting confused and she thinks you want her to follow you, because you usually ask her to come.

you could always try starting with a stay in which you back away then return to her and treat her once you return. then once you think she's really grasped that she shouldn't move, you could start working on her understanding that 'come' is a command that overrides the 'stay' command.
 

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She's confused.

Hard to remember we are human and what seems clear to us is frequently NOT to our dogs.

Think you just went a bit too far too fast for our pup and have (in her mind) blended the sit/stay/come all into one confusing command that's hard to fix because you've now added the distance element (timing timing timing).

I'd go back to the early training and stop the 'come' for the stay for a bit. Instead, do waht balloons recommends and give the treat WHERE SHE IS GOOD. This means you return to her for the click/treat and release. The reward should be where/when she's doing something well. And if you transitioned too fast to only treating after the 'come' you've lost all value for the 'stay'.

Remember to use 'random' reinforcement as you continue to train.

You able to start up dog classes yet? She's at the perfect age and will help instantly when training challenges crop up like this.



 

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i taught stay the same way you do. my pup sat in front of me
and i took one step backwards and held that position for 2 seconds
or so and that was it for that session. i would wait 5 to 10 minutes
and do the samething again. as the pup learned to stay for 2 seconds
i stepped backwards and i would say "stay" and wait 5 seconds,
5 seconds became 10 seconds and 10 seconds became 20 seconds
and so on. i step backwards became 2 steps backwards and 2 steps
backwards became 5 steps backwards and so on. i didn't rush advancing
the steps backwards or the hold times. once he was solid with each step
backwards and hold time we moved on. i used treats and lots of praise.
i trained indoors and outside. when i trained inside i use to train beside
an open door. i would put the pup in a stay and then step inside the doorway
so the pup couldn't see me. i mixed the out of sight training
with the pup in view training. i don't know if this matters but when my pup
was in a stay i always walk back to my pup. sometimes i would walk around
him or step over him.
 

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Agree with what others have said, she just doesn't understand yet. I always increase time before distance when teaching stay. I like to have a good 30 second stay built up with me right in front of the dog (and rewarded where they stay) before taking a step back. When teaching stay, you should only increase one thing at a time: duration, distance or distraction.

I also never call my dog from a stay. "Come" is so much fun that if you call from a stay, the dog starts to anticipate it and often breaks. If I am going to call my dog to me rather than return to him/her then I use wait.
 

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Ok, here's the issue I'm having lately:

Daisy is six months old. She is very well behaved, not wild or crazy. Does very well in crowds, exceptional actually. We've been out to flea markets and other crowded events and she walks by my side, leaves things be on command, etc. Sits on command, goes in her crate, knows not to come out of the crate after I open the door till I say "come", knows when she's on the leash and I stop walking to sit at my feet. However....... we're having an issue with "stay". Here's the training process I've used with other dogs, including her older sister, and its always worked fine.

Have her sit. Say "stay" and step back. Do it again. If she starts to move, "no". Get about five feet or so away, then "come". click/treat. Repeat, each time increasing the distance. If she gets up and comes without being called, reset and start from the beginning.

She sits, but then when I step back either comes to me and sits or runs to a toy or something else. The main issue seems to be focus control.

This is a basic command she absolutely MUST grasp. Any suggestions ya'll?


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I see one or two things missing. First, have a treat in hand and sit the dog. Take a step back keeping an eye on the dog. If dogs butt comes off ground step back and reset. You may have to do this numerous times until they understand what your wanting. A critical step in all this is when they do finally stay, you need a release command word. On training of the stay command, you need to go back to the dog to release them. You don't want to release them from a distance. Some of this is for if you train with a wait command. The wait command is similar but you can release at a distance not requiring you to go back to the dog to release. But it's critical you make them stay and walk back to them before you release.
 

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I worked with her for a bit yesterday evening, after she'd eaten and been in her crate for a bit to relax. I called her to me and had her sit at my feet. Then I'd say "stay" and take a small step back. Only 18" or so. Hold there, then release her. That seems to be working better.
 

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I agree with the others - too far, too fast.

Have her sit. Say "stay" and step back. Do it again. If she starts to move, "no". Get about five feet or so away, then "come". click/treat. Repeat, each time increasing the distance. If she gets up and comes without being called, reset and start from the beginning.
Every time she breaks her stay you're losing training ground. It's best to set her up to succeed, so she's rewarded for remaining in place, and then released before she decides to get up on her own. The key is to release her before she's even thinking about breaking as much as possible, so you're very rarely if ever having to reset her.

And think about how you're reinforcing her - she has to come to you to get the treat, so she's not being reinforced for actually staying, which is what you're trying to teach her, she's getting reinforced for getting up and coming to you. That's great if you're training a recall, but not so much for training a stay! If you start rewarding her in place instead, it shouldn't take too long for her to figure out that all she has to do is just stay there and you'll come give her yummy food, but if she gets up she gets nothing.

She sits, but then when I step back either comes to me and sits or runs to a toy or something else. The main issue seems to be focus control.
I disagree, I think it's not clear to her what's expected of her. Here's the method I use to train stay, copied from an earlier post I made a few years ago:

Only work on one of the "D"s at a time - Distance, Duration, and Distraction. Only after she's mastered each part do you try to include one of the others. For example, she can hold a stay if you walk 4 steps away OR she can hold a stay for 15 seconds with you right there rewarding her every few seconds. You don't immediately jump to 15 seconds with you 4 steps away, and NEVER in a distracting environment!

I start facing the dog and back away rather than having them in heel position next to me and stepping away with my back to them. A couple of reasons - if the puppy is even thinking about breaking I can see it and stop it by leaning towards them (moving my body forward, into the dog's space, can make them move back, and is often enough by itself to cause her to relax back into the sit or down before getting all the way up) and using a negative marker ("ah ah"). It's much better to prevent a break than to have to put her back in place after the fact. Walking away from her with your back turned may encourage her to get up and follow you, so I work up to that - personally I think it's more challenging for a puppy who has the instinct to follow you around to grasp the stay concept under those circumstances, so that's more advanced. I WANT my puppies to follow me when I walk away from them. For an older dog that's less of an issue.

First I take a step back with one foot and immediately step forward again, praise and treat. Take a step back with the other foot, step forward again, praise and treat. This was referred to as the "bungee" method when I first learned it because you snap back towards the dog like a bungee each time you step away. If she will hold the stay, do a few more reps, rewarding each time you return to her, and then release her. Keep the sessions pretty short. If she's still having fun, do another short session. Once she's like a rock with you just stepping back with one foot (this can be in the very first training session), take 2 steps back and immediately return to her, praise and treat. If that's no problem, take one step to the side, return, praise and treat, then the other side, then 2 steps, etc. By this time she she's probably starting to figure out that all she has to do is just sit or lay there and you keep giving her treats!

Gradually work up to taking more and more steps away, still facing her at this point, and taking more steps to the side. Then try walking 1/4 of the way around her, then halfway around her, then all the way around her, from both directions. Each time you return to her and praise/reward. Release her at the end of the session, but do not mark or reward the release. End the session before she seems bored or if she appears to be getting frustrated. It's better to do a couple of very short training sessions a day with a young puppy than one long one.

When you can walk all the way around her in both directions and back away from her the length of the room, try stepping away from her with your back turned. She may break - if she does calmly put her back in place and make it easier by just moving a foot around with your back turned, and then both feet before attempting to step away. Always return, praise and reward. Try it with her next to you in heel position rather than facing you. When you can walk away from her the length of the room with your back to her and she won't budge, try ducking out of sight for just a second before returning to her. Gradually, VERY gradually, work up to a few seconds out of sight.

When you start adding duration, decrease the distance. Stand close and reward often, then release. Work up to longer time before the release but don't be predictable - you don't want her to anticipate and self release. Do 10 seconds one time, then 20 seconds, then 5 seconds, etc. Combine them by taking a couple of steps away, waiting 5 seconds, then return, praise and reward, etc. Gradually work on distance and duration together. When you start working in more distracting environments, decrease both the distance and duration and gradually work your way back up to where you were at home with no distractions. Practice this for 5 or 10 minutes a couple of times a day, and I guarantee she WILL get it! You can also add other stuff later, once she's solid - clap your hands, jump up and down, sing loudly, knock on the wall, run in a circle around her.

This is the method I used to train Halo. She was a few days shy of 6 months old when she completed the Puppy 2 class, and on the last night she totally nailed the 2 minute sit/stay and 3 minute down/stay, in a room full of other puppies, leash dropped on the floor while I walked around the room. She started her next class at 7 months old and was dubbed the "Stay Star" by one of the other people in the class, and in the class that followed I had people tell me that Halo was making all the other dogs look bad, lol.
 

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IMO, dogs tend to catch onto hand gestures faster than words. So before actually introducing a word to an action my puppy does, I use a hand gesture (and stick with it for the rest of my life :p). Maybe that could help..?
 

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Hi,
Just a small point, I use two commands for getting my dogs to stay in one place. "STAY" means stay there until I am back with you, the reward is given when I am back by the dog. "WAIT" means wait until you get a further command, "wait" will often be followed up by come, or down or a release word, whatever I want them to do.
They soon grasp the difference, when I tell my guys wait, they remain focused, waiting for what comes next. When I say stay and walk away, they relax and zone out, because they know that nothing is going to happen until I am back next to them..
 

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Hi,
Just a small point, I use two commands for getting my dogs to stay in one place. "STAY" means stay there until I am back with you, the reward is given when I am back by the dog. "WAIT" means wait until you get a further command, "wait" will often be followed up by come, or down or a release word, whatever I want them to do.
They soon grasp the difference, when I tell my guys wait, they remain focused, waiting for what comes next. When I say stay and walk away, they relax and zone out, because they know that nothing is going to happen until I am back next to them..

I use a closed fist held palm/fingers down for "sit", and she understands that, so she sits to either spoken word and/or hand gesture.

Great advice in this thread. I'll be working more with her when I get home from work in ten days and we should get through this just fine. She learns rather quickly. :)
 
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