Charlotte Peltz Living with Your Dog "Now You Stay. Ya Hear?" brought to you by Joy Beckner Artist/ Bronze Sculptor

Living with Your Dog

Now You Stay. Ya Hear?

By Charlotte Peltz

Dolly Dog Owner was on her way to El Centro and said -- "Now you stay. Ya hear?" -- to Leaping Lena just as she left the house. Leaping Lena, of course, did not leave the house because there was no way for her to open the doors, but as soon as the door was closed off she scurried to have a much-needed nap.

Later in the day D.D.O. returned and decided to practice some newly learned obedience exercises, including the command, "Stay!" Leaping Lena dutifully and very happily sat as she was told to do, but when the command, "Stay!" was presented, she cocked her head for a moment and then walked off. D.D.O. charged after her, plunked her back into a sit and, shaking her finger in her face says: "Now, you look here, kid, I told you to STAY and that was just what I meant. So, you sit there and STAY! Ya hear?"

By this time poor Leaping Lena is getting pretty nervous about this whole scene, and as soon as D.D.O. takes her hand off of the dog's collar she takes off with her tail between her legs. Poor Leaping Lena. What could possibly be wrong with her?

If we go back to the opening lines it is clear that the dog was told, "Stay" when in reality what the owner really meant was -- "You are not going with me so just kick back and wait for me to return." Furthermore, the dog was subjected to a discussion when one word would be appropriate. The word is, "Wait!" Always remember, dogs do not understand language!

The "Stay!" command is a very important and useful order, but the handler -- and the dog must understand it. It means that the dog is to remain in the very place it was when given the command and is not to move until it is given another order. All Stay commands require a release or another command. When teaching the command, the handler stands next to the dog, says, "Stay!" and then steps in front [facing] to the dog. Immediately the handler returns, praises the "Stay" and repeats the process. Very SLOWLY the handler increases either the time she is in front of the dog OR the distance from the dog. All successful efforts by the dog are rewarded with treats and praise.

Sit/stay requires ever so much more concentration on the part of the dog, and is therefore very useful for introductory and focused efforts on the part of the handler with his/her dog. Down/stay is a totally different effort, and it is worthy of discussion after both the handler and the dog understand sit/stay. By now you may be prepared for me to say that the dog is going to learn this lesson in direct relevance to the handler's ability to teach it. Of course, that is true for anything one sets out to teach a dog.

The bottom line is -- do not ever punish a dog for a lesson that you have not properly and thoroughly taught.

"One can measure the size and moral progress of a nation to how she treats her animals." Mahatma Gandhi.

Back to Charlotte Peltz List of Articles

Call Charlotte at 707-923-3477