How to Train a Husky Puppy to Stay

Easy
1-6 Months
General

Introduction

When your dog will stay on command, you have a behavior that you can draw on in an emergency situation to regain control of her or keep her out of trouble. Luckily, training your Husky puppy to stay isn’t hard, although you will need to practice this skill often to make sure it is strong and reliable.

Another great reason to train stay? It will help your Husky learn how to be patient. By practicing and rewarding 'stay', your Husky puppy will come to associate waiting with the potential of a reward. This is a behavioral trait that will serve you for the life of your dog. Since Huskies can be a little bit pushy, these kinds of “impulse control” behaviors are particularly important for this breed.

This guide will cover three methods to train your Husky puppy to stay. We have included two ways to teach the basics of stay, along with 'Advanced Techniques,', a method for making sure your Husky not only knows how to stay, but will obey the command even in highly distracting conditions. 

Defining Tasks

Release command:

When you train “Stay,” you need to also include training a release word. The reason for this is that if you do not release her from a stay, she will always think that the decision to break a stay is hers to make. Usually trainers use “Okay!”, although the choice is entirely yours.

It is also possible to use the same release word for multiple commands that require your dog to wait or hold a position. Examples include: 'Wait', 'Freeze', 'Heel' or even 'Sit' (if your 'sit' command includes the expectation that he will sit until released).

Hand signal:

You also have the choice to include a verbal and non-verbal cue (usually a hand signal). If you decide to have your dog obey a 'stay' command for either of these types of cues, just start your training using both at the same time. As you “proof” the behavior, start using one or the other and chances are she will respond to either cue. 

Getting Started

Keep it short:

Puppies have a short attention span. 'Stay' is a behavior you can start to train at around 12 weeks, although keep your training sessions to no more than 5-10 minutes, and do not expect too much from your baby Husky. By 5 months, you will be able to extend training sessions to around 20 minutes and work towards extending the stay to a few minutes or more.

Keep it positive:

When you are training your Husky puppy to stay, your goal should be to set the bar low enough that he is successful most of the time. Every time you set him up for success when training, you increase his confidence and make him enjoy the learning process. Over time, this will translate to a Husky that learns fast, is motivated during training, and can focus for longer periods of time.

Using food as a motivator:

There is good reason why the motivator of choice for professional trainers is food: It is easy to repeat at a fast rate without disrupting the flow. If you are concerned about weight gain, just use some of your Husky puppy’s regular food rations spiced up with a few small pieces of chicken, cheese or cold cuts for a random treat your pup really loves. Once she has the basics of any new behavior down, you can fade food rewards to the top 10% of the behavior, choosing the best examples to reward with food.

The Stay Anywhere Method

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How to mark/reward
If you do not have a clicker, you can still use this method. Simply use a marking noise or word that you keep only for training purposes, and always follow it up with a food reward. The sound or click “marks” the behavior you want, making that the moment you are communicating to your puppy that she is doing it right. The treat then comes immediately after.
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First steps
With your Husky puppy close, ask for a sit (or 'down' if you prefer this to be your stay position). Say “Staaaay!” in a soft, drawn out tone. Give your hand signal as well, if you are using one. If your Husky puppy stays for even just a second, click/treat. Wait another few seconds, click/treat.
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3
Release
Add the release word by saying “Okay!” and then tossing the treat a few feet away. Praise her when she goes for the treat.
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Add time
Continue to repeat the last two steps, extending the time you wait before clicking/rewarding the stay, rewarding several times per stay, then releasing.
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Add distance
Add some distance, a few steps at a time. Make sure to advance at a pace that he can handle. Progress over the course of many sessions until you are reliably getting a stay for 30 seconds or more from a distance a few yards away.
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Advanced training
Proceed to 'Advanced Techniques' for tips on strengthening his stay so that it will be solid even in high distraction environments.
Recommend training method?

The Mat Method

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Why mat training?
Some folks prefer to associate their dog’s stay with a specific mat. The advantage of this system is that it translates to new places very easily. Be sure to pick mat that you can travel with easily. Or, practice with multiple mat-like surfaces such as towels, so that you always have access to a “mat” no matter where you are.
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2
On the mat
You can either teach a separate 'stay' command, or use “Mat” to simply mean: “Go to your mat and stay until released.” The choice is yours. Start by luring her to the mat with a food motivator. Click/reward as soon as she is completely on it.
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3
First stay
Say “Staaay” in a drawn-out tone, and the click/reward for a second or more of a successful stay on the mat. Wait another few seconds, click reward again. Repeat 5-10 times, ignoring failure and starting over if necessary.
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4
Release
Add the release word “Okay!” by saying it followed by tossing a treat away from the mat so she has to get off the mat to get it. Then go back to doing 'stays' on the mat, working a release in every so often to reinforce it.
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5
Add time and distance
Continue to practice these steps, over time adding distance and duration until she is staying for 20-30 seconds with you several yards away.
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6
Advanced training
You are ready to try the 'Advanced Techniques' method to train your Husky puppy to stay under any circumstances.
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The Advanced Techniques Method

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Proofing
Congratulations, you have trained your Husky puppy to stay! Now it is time to do what professional trainers call “proofing.” This means practicing his stay under different conditions and distractions so that you can count on it when you need it. This method explores some ways to make your Husky’s stay bulletproof.
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New places
It is always a good idea to take puppies to new places. This gives her confidence that the world is a safe place and helps to build a more confident dog overall. However, it is especially important to work on training in new places no matter what you are trying to train. 'Stay' is no exception.
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Other dogs
Huskies have a tendency to be quite curious about other dogs, so it is important to practice holding her attention around the distractions of nearby dogs. Try going to a dog park or a canine sporting event, starting far enough away from the other dogs that you can keep her focus while working on 'stay'. Then, gradually move closer until you have a strong stay very close to this distraction.
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4
Hide
Hide behind objects or walk into other rooms, gradually extending duration over time. This will teach your Husky puppy to stay even when you are not there to keep an eye on him.
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5
Outside
Take your training outside, using a long-line if necessary to keep control over your puppy while he is outside in an non-secure area.
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6
Add a consequence
Once he is staying very well, and you have begun the proofing process, it is time to add a consequence to failures to stay. It is critical that he has lots of success and rewards before adding the consequence. This will ensure your consequence is effective. Examples include a quick time out, a squirt with a spray bottle full of water, or a harsh tone and a stomp when she breaks without being released.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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