Thursday, April 18, 2013

Project Stay - Yes, I'm Finally Training the Wild Dog to Stay...

Stay is boring!  Rip likes to run!

Ok, I'm a little ashamed that I have a nearly-3-year-old dog who really does not  understand the concept of "Stay."  Since I want to get Rip into the Rally & Obedience rings in the near future, this is a *bit* of a problem.

So, finally, I've decided to really work on "Stay" with Rip.

Coincidently last week I was in a managerial effectiveness class, and we had to work with another person and coach them through developing a plan to tackle a non-work project.  I chose to think through training the stay.  After helping me through the plan, my work colleague said, "and that is why I don't train my dogs."  Fair enough.

The goal:
At the end of Project Stay Rip will be able to hold a 5 minute sit stay and a 7 minute down stay in "public" with me 40' away.

The plan:
Take on the 3 "D's" of the Stay.  Duration, Distraction & Distance.  I've chosen to break it down this way based on what I learned from a Laura Romanik seminar I attended a couple years ago.

I'm taking on Duration first:

  • This work will be done at home, or outside in our yard - places that Rip is really comfortable with.
  • We will start with 1 minute sit and 1 minute down.
  • We will work up to 7 minutes in sit, and 7 minutes in down.
  • I will stay within 6' of Rip at all times.
  • Plan to work on duration for 7-10 days.  2 sessions per day.

Next is Distraction:
  • I'm breaking distraction down into "new places" and "what is mom doing?"
  • Rip and I will go to at least 4 new places to work on stays.  The distraction part is all the new stuff that will be going on around us.
  • We'll also work with distractions at home.  I'll introduce new things and use things that normally distract Rip to test his resolve.  We'll do at least 9 sessions of these "what is mom doing" distractions.
  • All distraction work will be on leash, with me no more than 6' away from Rip.
  • Plan to work on distraction for 7-10 days.  2 sessions per day.

Then we'll get to Distance
  • Work will be done mainly at home, and at the club building where we normally train.
  • Work at home will be off-leash.  Work away from home will be on-leash.
  • Every session I'll move 1-2' feet further away.
  • Goal is to be able to do out-of-sight stays at home.
  • I'll work on distance for 7-10 days.  2 sessions per day.

Finally, we'll put it all together:
  • In reality, this will continue as long as Rip is doing obedience, but we'll continue the stay focus for a final 7 days.
  • We'll go to 4 new places and work on distance (on a long line).  
  • The goal here is to get 50' away from Rip, and be able to hold the sit stay for 5 minutes, and the down stay for 7 minutes.

To keep myself honest, I'll post quick updates on the blog at least twice a week, and a summary of each phase as we graduate to the next.


  1. Might I borrow your training concept for my 4-Her's? It's a perfect way to think about how to teach just about anything, but especially the stays-hard for kids to really grasp it, or at least some of them. Though on a side note, Mal the baby loves the stay exercise. He did almost a 20 min down stay in the middle of the training arena this week while I walked around and helped my novice kids. Now if I can get that in a sit :)

    1. Cindy - As a former (horse) 4-H'er, I say absolutely! Please let me know how they do with it!!

  2. It is surprising you haven't trained a stay before this. However, I may have trained one early on, but neither of my guys would ever stay for 7 minutes (esp. in a sit). My stays are for getting pictures and of course, an agility start line stay, so no need for too much duration!

    Have fun!


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