What is worth your sit and down command without your dog being able to maintain them ? When you think about it these basic commands don't have much value if your dog bounces back up straight and runs away after merely getting into one of those positions. Although it might not sound too complicated to you, learning this simple act of holding still can be a huge challenge for many dogs, especially those wriggly young pups. But once you have trained your dog to hold a reliable stay command in any situation, you will find it handy on many occasions. It's a great behaviour to request when you have visitors at your door step or when you need to pop inside a shop. Here are a few tips on how to teach your dog stay command.
#1 Start Small
To teach a rock-solid stay, make it easy for your dog to get it right using small steps. For an energetic young puppy, that might mean only half-second stays. That’s perfectly fine. From half a second you can build to one second, then two, and so on from there. Many short, successful stays are better for your puppy's obedience skills, than a long stay that will end with your dog wandering off and you getting frustrated.
#2 Use a position (sit or down or stand) that is most comfortable for your dog
Some dogs are more comfortable in sit position, the others prefer to be lying down during stay command. Few, but still some dogs feel most comfortable in stand position. Unless your dog requires more advanced training (e.g. competition, protection), there shouldn't be obligation to the position. If your dog tends to lie down during a stay command then it is the signal for you that this position is most comfortable for your dog.
#3 Add Hand Signal To Stay Command
As soon as your dog is in the desired position say "stay" and at the same time hold your hand out in front of you with your palm facing out towards your dog's nose (like a stop sign motion).
#4 Know How To Praise and Treat
Rewarding the behavior you are looking for is very important. Even if it's initially 2 seconds it's worth to start with. Giving your praise and treat means the behavior is over. This is your signal for your dog to release from his stay.
To farther master your dog's patience you will start to hold off your praise and treat for 3 or 4 seconds. But don't run on your way back to your dog waving a treat in your hand! That will probably distract your dog and it will break the stay to get reward sooner rather than later. Why wait if I can get it faster:)
Just be patient and if your dog breaks out of the stay command any time before you have given him the permission, simply say "aah-aah"! Don't give the treat, and simply start the process again.
#5 Never Repeat The Stay Command
Your doggy must know after the first ‘stay’ is said, what is going on and it should keep doing it until you release it from the command. You should “enforce” your “command” the first time, so that your dog “knows” he must “obey” promptly. Over a series of repetitions, you will inadvertently teach the dog to wait patiently until the second or third command before he is required to respond.
In other words, while you will be fuming about stubbornness and laziness of your canine, your dog's comment would probably be: "Look , boss, the command isn't 'stay', it's 'stay-stay-stay!' I'm just waiting for you to finish the sentence!"
#6 Don't Use Too Much Emotions. Be Patient
If your dog will make a mistake e.g. breaks the stay, Go back to it and start exercise from the beginning. Train with force, anger, or irritation and you’ll intimidate your puppy and turn training sessions into inquisitions. Don’t punish your dog. Even when you walk back with an ‘oh dear’ face, your dog may associate you coming back to him with something unpleasant.
Likewise, training with hyperbolic energy, squeals of delight, and over-the-top displays of happiness will stoke dog's energy levels far beyond what is needed for in order for your dog to focus and learn. So try to be neutral.