There are numerous commands that your dog needs to learn, and teaching them to lay down and stay are some of the most important. These commands aren’t just convenient for pet parents; they also keep both you and your dog safe in certain situations.
Fortunately, learning how to teach a dog to lay down and stay is relatively simple as long as you’re patient, stay consistent, and use only positive reinforcement such as treats or praise.
How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down and Stay?
There are numerous reasons why the lay down and stay commands are so important. You might want your dog to remain still because you’re on the phone or you’re getting ready to do some house-cleaning. You might also want this to happen because there is potential danger that you’re trying to avoid. Whatever the case, it’s important to know exactly how to teach your dog this command.
The main thing you should aim for is consistency. You should teach this command to your dog for five to ten minutes at a time, two or three times per day. It’s important to keep the sessions short and frequent, and you should also make sure you give the dog a treat immediately afterwards. Rewards are important when training a dog to do anything, including the stay and lay down commands.
How do you know your training is successful? First of all, you’ll want to aim for the dog being still for one or two seconds at a time in the beginning. The longer you train, the longer the time period should be for the dog to remain still.
Aim to increase that time one to two seconds each time until finally, the dog is able to remain in the stay position for several minutes. Once this occurs, training should still continue for a while.
How long will this take? That depends on how often you train and, of course, your dog’s personality and temperament. It could take several weeks or several months, but it will not happen overnight. Have patience and be consistent with the training, remembering to give the dog a treat every time they do something right. You probably won’t notice immediate results, but it will happen in time.
Preparing for the Training Sessions
Training while the dog is on a leash makes it easier, and a 15- to 30-foot leash will work best. You should also have lots of snacks available because you’ll need to give the dog the treat five to ten seconds after the behavior you’re praising. In other words, make sure that the treats are close by and not on the other side of the room because you’ll need them quickly.
Once the dog starts to learn the command and is lying down for at least a few seconds, you can consider continuing the training without the leash, but the leash is a good idea in the beginning. The leash also lets the dog know that it’s time for training to begin, which helps them become both physically and psychologically ready for what’s going to happen next.
When you give the command, make sure that you use a firm (but not harsh) voice so the dog knows that you mean business. Use a physical cue as well, such as holding out your hand with the palm facing down or out. If your dog stays still, step back a step or two and see if they continue to remain still. Try slowly stepping back another step or two and watch to see if the dog remains still.
The longer you train and the better the dog gets, the more you can step back and the longer they’ll remain still. Remember that this usually takes time. They may only remain still for a few seconds at first, but the length of time they remain still will increase as long as you’re training them properly.
Remember that it takes time for them to go from sitting still for a few seconds to sitting still for several minutes, so patience is a must.
Adding Distractions Is the Next Step
There are things that you can do to add a distraction so the dog gets used to staying and lying down regardless of their environment or the circumstances.
Once your dog starts to master lying down for short periods of time and it seems as though they’re getting used to it, try doing things such as changing the location of your training or increasing the distance by stepping away from the dog a little further.
Eventually, you should be able to remove the leash and the dog will remain in place for the entire training session. If the sessions have gone on for a long time and the dog is doing better but still needs additional training, you can occasionally skip the treats, but always give them praise because they need some type of positive reinforcement every single time for the training to work.
You also need a release word to let the dog know that they can stop being still and continue to do what they were doing before you gave the command to stay.
You can use words such as “okay,” “free,” or “good” to let the dog know that they can stop sitting still. The dog should know that this release word indicates they can come to you because their training for now is complete.
Just as with any other commands, training your dog to learn to stay or lay down requires consistency. Your dog, although smart, will usually forget these commands easily, which is why it usually takes at least a few weeks or longer to master them. Many dogs have the learning capacity of a two- to three-year-old, which makes repetition and consistency absolutely necessary for them to master any command.
The lay down and stay commands are very important when it comes to training your dog properly. Remember that it is your responsibility as a pet parent to train your dog and teach them certain basic commands.
Knowing these commands makes both your pet’s and your life a lot easier, especially in situations where potential danger needs to be avoided.