After teaching at our dog the commands “sit” and “down”, we have to teach him the “stay” command that has a substantial difference from the others. Here, we ask our dog to stay still rather than make a move as we drive off. This is totally opposite to the instinct of the dog, which leads him to want to follow and be with his herd. It would be good to teach this command as puppies when the link with the master is still very tight and it will have less difficulty in separating from the person.
At first you have to settle for a few moments of stillness, but that will lay the foundations for the future mainly to avoid problems such as separation anxiety. “Stay” means “do not move, stay where you are and in the position where you are until I call you.” So you can teach it starting from any position: standing, sitting or on the ground.
There are several methods, but the simplest is the one with the ball: while you are walking on a leash, you decrease your pace to a crawl and you drop the leash, raising an arm with a ball in the hand and the other arm stretched out toward the muzzle of the dog.
Seeing the ball the dog will stop thinking about starting to play and we will make a step back saying “stay.”
Then we come back to the dog and play with the ball. Day by day we add a step or two, and the command will be learned. The “Stay” may seem like a complicated exercise but really does not take much time to teach the dog the combination of command and execution. What we must avoid is that the dog feels “abandoned” by his owner, introducing in him the fear of being left alone, so it is very important to reassure the dog that his master will always return to him.