How To Teach A Puppy To Sit and Stay

The sit, stay, and recall commands are essential behaviors your puppy can use over their entire lifetime. It keeps their attention on you and can help keep them safe. Learn to teach your puppy how to sit, stay, and come to you through the positive training methodology, the Wildrose Way, taught by expert trainer Mike Stewart.

Introduction To Sit and Stay : Video Transcript

Mike Stewart: Let's talk about a couple of essential behaviors. Essential behaviors are behaviors that you put into a pup to the point of a predictable habit that will endure a lifetime. We're talking about sit, stay and recall. Sit and stay is two different things and over a period of time through repetition and consistency, the puppy learns to distinguish between the two different commands. And recall, that's the puppy coming to you. If you place the puppy away from you and call the puppy to you, what you're actually doing is creating a situation that trains in creeping. That is when you turn your back, the puppy skeets along the ground and creeps toward you. How do you prevent that? We have Wildrose law. Don't put it in a problem you have to train out later.

Behind us, way over here, we have young Forest. Notice the eye contact. This dog is really ready to learn. If he's sniffing the ground and looking all about, we don't really have the eye contact, the mental conditioning that we need. There's a bit of timing on your part that you have to get. The command goes, sit, the pressure comes on in the lead very lightly. There's a little discomfort to the pup. The puppy sits, the lead goes away. Pretty soon, you can say sit, without lead pressure at the puppy sits. Notice the eye contact as she moves side to side now at sit. She makes a little correction, lifts on the lead. Step toward the pup, lift on the lead if he were to move. Now we're starting to teach sit. As the puppy does the behavior, that's when you give them the cue or the command sit. Don't stand in front of your young pup, then saying, "Sit, sit, sit."

He hasn't a clue what you're talking about. And quickly the puppy's going to associate turning that lead pressure off that I can avoid the whole thing by simply sitting before the lead. Eye contact is so good. If he were to start breaking eye contact after two, three or four minutes, maybe the session's over. Always end on a win and always end when the puppy is really interested in what's going on. If he starts becoming distracted, you're really training your puppy not to buy attention. Through repetition and consistency, if you do things wrong, guess what? You're training the puppy to do exactly what you didn't want.

Now we're going to move him side to side. Let's see if we can drop the lead and take two steps away. Hand signal says stay, body language says stay. She's maintaining absolute eye contact. Also notice there's no distractions out here. Put the kids up, no other dogs. When you're teaching a new command to a puppy, you need complete attention, focus all the time. Now how are we going to teach recall if we don't call a puppy to us and create a creeper? We're going to use young Forest and teach him what we call reverse heel. Notice we're working the edge of the road. It could be a paved road. It can be a gravel road. It could be a curb. This creates a psychological barrier for the pup. Dogs are extremely place oriented so by working the edge of the road, the puppy is learning to stay very close to heal and not step into the grass. He steps into the grass, we move him back over. They learn to stay very close to the body as you're learning to heal and lead.

We're going to use our same straight edge back and forth and call the puppy to us by reversing heel. And then we'll go forward again. Reverse heel, go forward again. We didn't call him off sit. Therefore we're not putting in a behavior that we're going to have to undo down the road. If you want to use your command, you'll sign your command then as he's doing it. Here, here, here or if you want to use your whistle, it's here. That's the way we would get the puppy to come to us without calling them off sit. Now stay as permanent. If we leave the puppy at stay as we're about to do and Danielle's going to walk away and tell the puppy to stay. Then she's going to walk back to the heel position and now there's a correction. Good. Showed you how to make the correction. Very nice. Now, if you drop that lead and take a step away, what happens? The puppy moves.

Puppies communicate primarily through body language so we have to make the command more important. Dogs don't talk so now we have to get this stay more important than us stepping away. We want to be able to step away from our pup. One step without the puppy moving. Then it's two steps. That's proximity. One step, two steps, three step. It's very gradual. Now the puppy is not working on body language. He's sitting still. This time don't say anything, drop your hands, no hand signal and walk away. And let's see what happens. He moves. Our puppy is not yet moved away from body language. He's still watching more body language than he is the command. The puppy's showing a bit of fatigue now, losing a bit of attention so we want to put him up on a win. We want to consider sit, stay and recall as an essential behavior that's going to endure a lifetime so get it right from the start and build a predictable habit.

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