Having a dog that will stay when told is not only a convenience, it can be a lifeline. A solid ‘stay’ that you can count on is a basic part of having control over your dog, and no puppy training is complete without it.
Luckily, clicker training makes very fast work of training ‘stay’. Because you can mark the behavior you like, and follow it up when you can with a reward, clicker training is a form of advanced communication with your puppy.
If you are new to clicker training, ‘stay’ is a perfect command to start working on because it lends itself very well to this training technique. Read on to find three methods that will traing your puppy to stay with a clicker, each one building on the other to make sure your pup is a pro at ‘stay’.
Although ‘stay’ is easy to train, it does take lots of practice to really build a ‘stay’ you can count on. Luckily for you and your puppy, training time is fun, especially with a clicker.
Your clicker works to "mark" the behavior you like. Since it is always followed by a reward, it is an audible signal to your puppy that whatever they are doing the instant they hear the sound is the right thing.
When you first get started with using a clicker to train, you will find it a bit awkward and your puppy might be a little confused. Don't worry about that one bit. In a few short practice sessions you and your canine will both get used to this way of communicating, and start really having fun quickly learning new behaviors and tricks.
You will need to have a bag of treats in order to start your clicker training (they have special treat bags that hang on your waist for just this purpose). This is because every single click will be followed by a small food reward (about the size of a pea).
If you are training something new, or are working in a high distraction environment, be sure that your treat bag includes at least 30% high value reward, which just means something that is special and tasty like some cooked chicken or cheese. For most dogs, the rest of the food rewards can actually be taken from their daily kibble rations.
The goal with clicker training is to start with very low expectations of what you will take before offering a click/reward. When your puppy is consistently meeting those expectations, you gradually raise the bar.
So, with ‘stay’ training, the basic idea is to click/reward early and often, gradually increasing the distance and duration as you practice your ‘stay’ drills.
Start with our ‘Basic Stay’ if your dog is brand new to learning this behavior. Once she has the basics down, switch to ‘Unsupervised Stay’ and ‘Proofing the Stay’ for advanced skills.