Stay, Release

Deb D’Andrea

Stay and Release are two great commands your pup will learn to understand which are easy to train. The ‘stay’ command can be used in so many instances; it would take up the entire column to list all the circumstances – from staying on the sidewalk before crossing the street, to staying if they see a squirrel, to using the stay command to help relax your dog when they are in a situation that causes them anxiety. For example, you’re out on a leash walk and your dog sees another dog they want to play with. The ‘stay’ command combined with a ‘sit’ and ‘watch me’ command to refocus their attention to you will help distract them.
What does the ‘stay’ command mean? What do you want to have happen? You want them to stay in their position and not move till ‘released.’ For the ‘stay’ command, I firmly, in front of their nose but never touching their nose, quickly place my flat hand and say “Stay.” I look them in the eye, walk just far enough away before I know they’re going to move, turn around, walk back to them, ‘release’ and praise. Lots of praise. You’ll get to understand when your pup is about to move so you can turn around before then to help make the training a success.
The command is ‘stay,’ a firm flat hand in front of their nose, and walk away just far enough for them to hold a successful ‘stay.’ ‘Release’ them from their ‘stay’ and give them lots of praise and treats. That part of the exercise is done. Repeat this often, on walks, in the house, while cooking, before guests arrive, whenever you can, train ‘stay.’ In the beginning it’s easier to start with them in a sit; but eventually you want them to ‘stay’ regardless of if they are sitting, standing or lying.
The ‘Release’ command lets them know you’ve completed the exercise and that now it’s time to relax. It is the marker saying “We’re done. Go play,” or “We’ll go play now.” Consistently use the ‘release’ command versus saying ‘okay’ as the word ‘okay’ is used in everyday language and could be confusing to your pup. Some say ‘Free Time’ and whatever your word is say it in a very excited, high pitched voice to let the dog know they are done training.
Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz, provides Petz Nanny Services, mobile Canine Massage and Canine Agility. Deb’s home-made dog treats are sold at local stores and K9Birthday Cakes are available direct. Deb Petz Nanny’s for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, etc. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or