The Importance of the Stay
While not as obvious as Sit or Lie Down, Stay may very well be the most important command your dog learns. After all, there will likely be times you want your dog to remain where he is, such as when a new guest arrives at the door. But there may be times when knowing the Stay command can save your dog's life. Imagine if he starts to chase a ball into a busy street, or begins running after a dangerous animal. At any rate, Stay should be taught as soon as possible, and practiced frequently.Prerequisites
While it's important to teach Stay early, let's stop and think for a moment. From the human perspective, we think of "stay" as "freeze," or "don't move." And ultimately, you want you dog to understand it the same way. However, don't expect that right away. Dogs see things more literally that we do, so it's easier to teach Stay as an extension of another command, like Sit. Once your dog understands the idea of Stay after he has responded to Sit (the "sit-stay"), you can branch out into the "down-stay," and finally the standing stay. You would have a much harder time if you started with the standing stay, which is typically the toughest one to master. Generally, though, once your dog grasps the standing stay, he has understood that "stay" is universal.
So, make sure your dog has learned to sit on command, then move on to the Stay.
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