The stay cue is a fundamental cue that helps keep your dog safe and well-behaved in various situations. By proofing the stay cue with the use of a long lead, you can gradually increase distractions and distance, ensuring that your dog maintains the stay even when tempted by something enticing.
Using a long lead while training stay also keeps them safe from running off while also giving you some extra space for building up distance and time. When teaching your dog to stay using a long lead, start in a low-distraction environment such as your backyard or a quiet park. If your dog is still distracted, work in an empty parking lot.
Attach the long lead to your dog's collar or harness, and step a short distance away. Use a hand signal or verbal cue to ask your dog to stay, and maintain eye contact with them. If your dog starts to move towards you, gently guide them back into the stay position using the lead. Start again but make it easier (shorter duration or distance). Praise and reward your dog when they successfully maintain the stay, gradually increasing the distance and duration as they become more comfortable.
As your dog becomes proficient in the stay command with the long lead in a low-distraction environment, it's time to introduce distractions. Start with mild distractions such as tossing a toy or having another person walk by. If your dog remains in the stay, reward them generously. If they break the stay, calmly guide them back into position and try again. Continue to increase the difficulty of the distractions as your dog becomes more reliable. Remember to always reward your dog for a successful stay, reinforcing the behavior you want to see.