Starting to train 'stay' when your puppy is young is the best way to ensure a reliable stay later in life. Luckily, training your Rottweiler puppy to stay is fairly easy, although you should expect to practice often over the course of his life to keep this behavior ingrained.
'Stay' happens to be one of several behaviors considered by professional trainers to teach dogs “impulse control.” When your puppy learns from an early age that patience can be rewarding, it helps him grow into a dog that is able and willing to wait for long periods of time – an important quality to teach powerful dogs such as Rottweilers.
This guide includes three different methods to train stay: two ways to teach the basics and an 'Advanced Skills' method to really make his stay strong under any circumstances.
Our methods focus on the power of reward and discourage overuse of punishment. The reason for this is that punishment, particularly physical punishment, can make your Rottweiler insecure, fearful or aggressive later in life. This means we will recommend ignoring unwanted behaviors, such as breaking the 'stay' without being released, in the early stages of training.
Once you have trained your Rottweiler puppy to stay with some reliability and have started proofing the behavior, you can and should add a consequence for failure to hold her position. This can be as simple as a “time out” in her kennel, a harsh tone, or a quick squirt from a water bottle.
Because she will have built up so much practice being rewarded for the RIGHT behavior, it won’t take much correction for her to realize that her best bet is to earn a possible reward rather than a possible punishment. If you start punishment too early you will end up with a dog that fears learning, is emotionally shut down, and is much more dangerous than a confident dog that has been given lots of opportunities to experience praise and reward for making the right choices.
Verbal and non-verbal cue: You should decide on a hand signal for 'stay' in addition to your verbal command. Just use them both at the same time early in training. For advanced training, just use one or the other so they can both trigger the behavior on their own.
High-Value Rewards: You will need to use rewards that you can repeat quickly without disrupting the flow of training or taking the focus off of the task at hand. Food is the best motivator. If you are worried about a weight issue, just know that your Rottweiler is very likely to work quite hard for pieces of their regular kibble rations, mixed with a few tasty treats like small bits of cheese or cold cuts.
Release: You will be training a release word alongside the 'stay' command. It is your job to make sure he never gets rewarded for breaking a 'stay' without being properly released.
Success: The fastest way to train any new behavior is to have lots of success and a high rate of reward. If your Rottweiler puppy is failing a lot, then you have set the bar too high, too fast. Success rate should be at least 80%. If she falls short of that she will get confused, frustrated, and disinterested in training. Unmotivated dogs, just like unmotivated people, resist learning new things.