If you have followed my advice on starting your puppy off by working on the basics, your pup sits on command and stays for half a minute or so in a low-distraction environment. She usually comes when called in the house or the backyard.
The “Stay” command can be particularly challenging for pups like this outgoing Border Collie and the energetic Beagle (above).
Now it’s time to increase the number of distractions. At feeding time, make your pup “Sit” and “Stay.” Keep an eye on her while you fill her food pan. If she moves, immediately stop and then correct her. Hearing kibble hit her bowl will sorely test her. Now place the dish on the floor. If she breaks, catch her, and plunk her down in the original spot. After she’s sat looking at the food for about 10 seconds, call her to it – and you – with “Come.”
Outside, snap a 20-foot check cord on her collar, and give the sit-stay command. Keep the check cord in hand as you back away, repeating “Stay.” If she starts to move, give the check cord a gentle flip so it pops her chin. If she moves, correct her. You may have to use a stern voice, but don’t yell. Eventually, you can drop the check cord. If she runs, step on the check cord, and pull her in with a stern “Come.” Then repeat the sit-stay lesson.
– Gradually increase backyard distraction.
– Possible distractions include running kids, a clapping spouse, or the neighbor’s dog.
– End a session on a sour note.
– Overlook going back to an easier task.