Saturday, August 22, 2009

What's The Difference Between Wait and Stay?

We are enjoying our dog training classes very much and Gerard and I are learning that dog speak is very specific. Abby is the "social butterfly" in our class and has quickly made friends with all the other dogs. Even the shy Killer came to her to sniff Saturday.

There are several differences between wait and stay:

Wait means to stop for several seconds such as when someone is at the door, or before crossing a street. It's a short-term command. The hand signal for wait that we learned is just holding up one finger like we do when we say "Wait a minute." When wait is done, we praise and tell the dog "let's go" or "come."

Stay is more specific and more permanent. We want the dog to stay put in that particular spot until we come back to the dog to release it by saying "done" or "finished" to release the dog. The hand signal for stay is an open hand right in front of the dog's face. I use stay to tell Abby to stay downstairs when I go upstairs to visit the cats. It's not used as often as wait, but is an important command to learn.

It is important to be consistent with the words and the signals every time and do it the same way so the dog knows what we want and doesn't become confused. Stay is a hard command to learn, not only for the dog, but also for us owners. To teach stay, we must be patient and work in tiny steps. First we have the dog stay put while we stand in front of it. It's okay if the dog sits or lays or stands as long as it stays in that same spot. In the beginning, just slowly take one step back for 2 seconds, then try one more for 2 seconds and come back to the dog, praising it for a good stay and releasing it saying "done." Try again increasing your distance. If the dog does not stay for you, then try it again at a shorter distance away, take fewer steps. Above all, be patient, the dog generally wants to please you but won't if you get upset.

Watch the video to see how Abby and I did at learning stay:

Abby did really well on stay for me once I could get her to sit. This video shows how I goofed at first by forgetting to come all the way back after she succeeded but then I remembered from then on. Gerard had a tougher assignment--he had to have her lay first and then stay which took awhile but she did it! Then, all the dogs were lined up in a row which meant Abby had Killer on the one side of her and Odot on the other which was hard for her to ignore. Gerard's video is posted on Abby's blog at: "Saturdays Are So Much Fun."

For "Come" the trainer said we should give a special treat because it is so important for them to learn this. The trainer told us that her dog was running along her fence barking at the dog on the other side when she called several times for it to come. The dog ignored her so she went back in the house and got a raw carrot which her dog loves. This time, she called, "If you COME, you'll get a carrot with emphasis on "come." The dog came immediately, no hesitation at all. For Abby, she seems to really love the meat filled chew sticks and the Better Than Pigs Ears so we're going to use those when we do the come command with her.

I highly recommend dog training classes. We all enjoy it, especially Abby. Notice how her tail always seems to be going in the videos?


Daisy said...

Abby does seem to be having a great time! Her tail was wagging and she had a big smile the whole time.

The Author said...

It's very important to be consistent with the words you use for each command. Learning wait and stay is great because those are two commands you use all the time.
Sounds as though you are doing a fantastic job.

BeadedTail said...

Abby is doing a great job at her training classes! She's so happy and very cute and obviously very smart too!

Ruby Red Slippers said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and the sweet comment! Love yours-I am hopeless at training my dog-the boys have been much easier so far...

Mrs4444 said...

This was informative! Thanks.

Off to figure out what's Better Than Pig Ears...

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