Note: This post is sponsored by Green Bark Gummies dog treats and Pipeline Pet Products.
Is your dog too smart? Here's what I mean …
I have a problem.
My Weimaraner Remy speaks English.
Well, not really … but he’s the type of dog where I’m going to have to start spelling out W-A-L-K unless I plan on going for a walk right this second.
Ok, no big deal.
But here’s an example of a real adjustment I need to make for Remy:
His release word (to break from sit, down or stay) can no longer be “OK!”
“OK” is too common of a word. Meaning, if my dog hears “OK” in a conversation across the room, he’ll break from position.
Even if someone's quietly talking on the phone like, “Jim, OK, that sounds good I’ll be there at 7.”
My dog hears: “Blerp, OK!!!!!!! Bla, bla, blerp.”
Now, you could argue that my dog should be taught that the release cue only applies when it’s coming from me while making eye contact. This works for my more mellow dog Ace who rarely challenges anything.
Or, I could just pick a different word.
Something like, “Free!” or “Break!” (Any word would work.)
How to get your dog to stay until you release him
Dogs need to know that “stay” really means “Stay until I release you.”
Otherwise, it’s a guessing game for them and you stand there repeating stay … stay, stay.
Just say “stay” once. Then release with whatever word you choose.
If you don’t have a release word for your dog yet, just pick one now and get started. Do you have a new puppy or new dog? Perfect.
(If you have a release word already, let me know what word you use.)
Rewarding my dog with treats while he's still staying
It's natural for dog owners to reward their dogs with treats immediately after the dog does something “good.”
However, when you're working on the basics like sit, down and stay, it's better to calmly give a treat while the dog is still staying.
That way, your smarty-pants dog won't try to break from position early in order to get the treat (Remy!).
And if you have a dog who is explosive with energy, like Remy, getting him to just sit still is a challenge. So rewarding him when he's actually attempting some sort of “calm” is important.
I'll tell Remy “stay” and then pause for a few seconds, give him a treat, remind him “stay” again while I take a few steps back, then calmly return and give another treat and THEN release him. “Break!”
The treats we use—Green Bark Gummies
The treats I use for training my dogs are Green Bark Gummies. These are soft, healthy treats made with high-quality ingredients such as whitefish, chicken and duck. The treats include the patented NutriChia, which is a sprouted chia ingrained with three omega-3 fatty acids—ALA, EPA and DHA.
Green Bark Gummies are available in 4-ounce bags for $4.99 here.
Is your dog trained to stay until you release him?
What word do you use? Let me know in the comments.