The doorbell rings. Lola starts frantically barking, jumping, and clawing to get the door open. You howl, “Lola, sit... stay. Stay! STAY!!” to no avail. Sound familiar?
If so, it’s time to give your dog’s Stay a makeover. Many dogs learn to stay when it’s convenient for them. This may include waiting politely while you prepare her food or standing still for brushing. But when your dog is faced with an intense distraction, such as a ringing doorbell or food that’s fallen from the table, Stay becomes much harder for her to maintain.
Nailing these more challenging Stays starts with teaching relatively easy ones and gradually working your way up to high level distractions. We’re going to follow the popular method of teaching Stay using the Three D’s: Duration, Distance, and Distraction. This method isolates one variable (or “D”) at a time, so your dog won’t get overwhelmed or stressed.
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Kate Naito, CPDT-KA, MS, is an accomplished author and dog trainer with Doggie Academy in Brooklyn, NY. Her books, articles, and videos cover everything from house-training to leash aggression.