To “Stay” or “Not to Stay.” When I train a dog, I never use the word, “Stay.” It’s what we professionals call a “double command.”
The reason you don’t need to use the word “Stay” is that you should be using a release command. A release command, such as “Free” or “Take A Break” is an easy way to tell the dog that he should continue doing a dog obedience training exercise UNTIL you return and tell him that the exercise is finished.
If you tell your dog to lay down (“Down!”) …you don’t need to keep saying, “Stay,” “Wait” “Don’t Get Up!” “Wait” “Stay!” “Stay” “Stay!” The way I structure my training, I want to be able to give the dog a command ONCE! I don’t need a dog (or a dog training methodology) that requires me to constantly repeat commands, and constantly remind the dog that he should continue doing the exercise.
When I’m out working with Forbes (my Pit bull mix)… I tell him “Down!” and he knows to remain there until I come back and tell him “Free”. He knows that if I say something else… like, “Do you like Fish Tacos?”… and he gets up… that he’s going to get corrected back into the down position. And thus he learns to automatically wait for his release command.
So, in essence, the release command is like a password. The password to finishing an exercise, that is! If he doesn’t hear the password, then that must mean the exercise isn’t finished. And the amazing thing is that, if you teach your dog correctly, he can pick up the meaning of the word, “Free” or “Take A Break” in about 10 minutes, AND ACTUALLY DIFFERENTIATE it from other words, like “Do you like Fish Tacos?”
Now you can probably see why I feel that the stay command is worthless. It’s simply not needed if you’re using a release command. See, you want to make sure that when you’re training your dog, you’re using as few words as possible, and keeping it real simple.
If you have FIVE different words for the same thing, then each command (word) has only 20% of the effectiveness that using only one command would have. For example, when I tell Forbes, “Down”… what that means to him is that he should lay down, AND STAY DOWN… until I come back and tell him “Free!”. Then it’s Miller Time. So “Down” means the same as “Stay Down”. I just simplify it my using only the one word. And not repeating the command by saying “Stay,” “Wait,” and “Please Don’t Get Up!”