Are you at your wits’ end because your furry friend is a bit too vivacious and is never still? Whether your dog is an adult or, better yet, a puppy (educating a young dog is easier, of course), it’s never too late to teach him how to stay still. Our friend and dog trainer Elisa tells us how to do it in a few simple steps!
The “down-stay” command is surely one of the most requested tricks when owners go to a dog training centre. Even when we’re outside with our dog and there are other people and pets around, it’s normal to worry about Fluffy being too intrusive.
What do you need? Treats and willingness are more than enough!
If your furry friend already knows a “lie down” command, you’re halfway there. If that’s not the case, just make sure your dog follows your hand – the one that is holding the treat – as you move it down towards the ground. We start with the “down” position because it’s static and it’s easier for your dog to understand he must remain that way even when you’re moving.
So, starting with the “down” position, ask Fluffy to stay, and quickly take a step back, then immediately come back and reward him with a treat for having stayed still. Do it again, then take two steps back, then three, and so on. It’s absolutely important to reward him whenever he stays in the proper position, without getting up or moving.
Slowly start moving more and more, going in different directions, and perhaps even turning your back on him, never forgetting to reward him.
Some dogs may require more or less repetitions until they’re confident while staying in position. Once this happens, you can ask him to stay even in the presence of stronger external stimuli, such as food on the ground or moving balls – things that may distract or tempt him to move.
Here is Elisa at work!