The sit-stay is a basic exercise that all dogs should know. Here is how you do it.
Hold your left hand, palm back, close to the dog’s nose and command ‘Stay!’ Step out with your right foot and turn and face your dog. Stay close to him at first! Pivot back on your left foot to heel position without circling your dog. Again, tell your dog to stay! Signal back with your left hand and move out on your right foot. Keep your leash slack, but be ready to make a quick correction if your dog shifts position! Now, with the dog facing you, hold your right hand in front of his nose and say “Stay!” and back away to the full length of the lead.
When the dog is at the handler’s side in heel position, the stay signal is given with the left hand held in front of the dog, palm back. When the dog is sitting and facing the owner, the stay signal is given with the right hand. It is held with the palm toward the dog and the fingers pointing to the ground. This is the signal that will later be used to make the dog sit from the down position. It should be put into effect at the start of training.
While your dog is facing you at the full length of the leash, circle slowly to the right and pass in back of your dog to heel position. As you move around, take up the slack in the lead with the left hand and hold it on the right side of the dog. If he moves, stand still and repeat the command “Stay!” as you jerk him back to a sitting position. Hold the dog with both hands, if necessary, while you circle around him, but don’t let him move from that spot until you give him permission. Stand quietly at his side. Pat and praise him while he is still sitting. Now release him from training and play with him.
Tell your dog to stay and stand in back of him. Stay close at first and be ready to correct him if he moves. The dog is permitted to turn his head but not his body. Correct him if he does. Step back to heel position. Don’t praise him yet. Tell him to stay once more. Step in back of him to the full length of the lead. Return to heel position. Say “Stay!” and face him. Go to the right of the dog and stand in back of him. Walk past him and face him again. Return to heel position. Don’t keep saying, “Stay!” Repeat the command if the dog breaks, but otherwise don’t say anything. Move slowly in the sit-stay exercise until the dog becomes accustomed to staying by himself. If the dog breaks position, move quickly! Allow as little time as possible between the actual mistake and the ensuing correction. With dogs in heel position, say “Stay!” Back with your left hand, out on your right foot, and go to the end of the lead.
Lean over and put the lead quietly on the floor. Command “Stay!” as you do so. Pick up your lead. Command “Stay!” at the same rime. Drop it again without leaning over. Pick it up. Circle back to heel position. Every time your dog moves forward to break the sitting position bounce the palm of your hand against his nose, or lift the lead sharply to throw him back again into position. Keep your lead slack when you step out from your dog!
Use a firm tone of voice when you give a command the first time – a demanding voice if the dog disobeys. Don’t keep repeating your dog’s name! Stress the command. Don’t keep talking to the dog. If he is sitting, let him alone. Repeat the command if your dog is disobedient.