I'll be working on stay for the next while; for me it is one of the most important things that you can teach a dog. Now that I have a new puppy I am realizing how much I hate it when dogs don't know what stay means so we need to get training. Elsa is a very smart puppy, crazy smart and as such I expect a great deal from her. She loves to work and only gets frustrated if she is not "getting it," which means moving by baby steps so that she is achieving success.
We began the stay yesterday at class; she was tied off on a wall tie so she couldn't just run everywhere. This enabled us to get a basic understanding done fairly easy. But teaching a solid stay is not going to be easy with this girl; she's a mover, always on the go. So we will work slowly and with food treats which she has shown she will do anything for. When dogs are so food driven it does give you the ability to train quickly and happily. The secret is to not have such good treats so as to create a focus entirely on the food and nothing else around, it is a fine line you need discover.
Anytime that I am out with my older dogs, I can ask them to stay anywhere. It is a very useful tool for any type of situation. Stay should be solid and reliable which means that it needs to be trained in high distraction areas as well. You begin at home or in a very quiet place so that the dog can get a grasp of what is expected. Once they achieve this you can start adding small distractions, gaining some distance and time. Each obstacle, duration, distance and distraction needs to be worked on separately until the dog is doing so well that they can all be done together.
As a dog photographer I meet a great deal of dogs who have no idea what stay means. Their owner says "stay" but their reaction to the verbal cue is quite clearly gibberish to them. Stay is very serious for me; when I say it I mean it and I enforce it. If you say stay and then grow tired of your dog who does not stay and simply let them move on, you are sunk. Your dog will never understand what it means and never deliver a stay. It must be ingrained from the get go; stay means just that, STAY.
I look forward to our training, I know that it is not going to be a cake walk having such an on the go sort of dog but there will be great celebration when we achieve small success. A stay is a must have for all dogs.