Stay vs Wait

Posted by kjd
Jan 6, 2010
Hi, again, Max,

OK, I am sorry I mentioned Schutzhund, because it has just confused:confused: the issue. I am not into that sport and just mentioned their use of commands as an example of differences in meaning.

When I tell my dog sit or down or stand, it is a temporary command unless I add "stay" to remain in place.

My understanding of the "down" in obedience trials is the dog can adjust its position, even to lying on its side -- just cannot change to a sit or stand or move away from where it has been left. Since the long down is for 5 minutes, to force the dog to remain motionless would be cruel.

At this point, however, I've been away from the sport for over ten years. It may have changed drastically. I know there is a shortened form of it rally that seems much more fun for the dog.

Right now, the only place I use "wait" is at the stairs. All it means to Sunna is "don't come onto the stairs until I am at the other end." I base this on her actions: she will wander around, sit, or lie down. When she sees I am at the top or bottom, she often starts onto the stairs without my giving her the release word. Since she is doing what I want, I haven't corrected her. If she is still waiting once I've reached the other end, I will give her the release word. But she doesn't have to wait for it. (Actually, once she got the point -- stay off the stairs if I am on them, I rarely given any command. So who knows what it really means to her?)

In obedience class, it seems to me, the stay means "don't move from this position (though, if you are down, you can roll on your side) until I return and either give you the release word or another command." The wait means "don't move from this position, but wait for my next command." The next command is normally a "come."

Right now, I am thinking about your response, my current dog's responses, and the responses of all my previous dogs. I think I will continue to use "wait" as a casual command and use "stay" any time I want my dog to remain in position. They've never seemed to be confused by "sit, stay" while I walk some distance away, turn, and call "name, come."

That also allows me to use "wait" in other situations, such as, "yes, I've the leash in my hand, but wait while I answer the phone, get the keys I forgot, turn off the TV, get the mail." Which only goes to show that dogs, living in the present moment, are smarter than I.

So, is that closer to your use of "wait"? It does let me tell my dog "stay" while I throw the ball.

This is getting pretty long.:eek: When I say "it does let me," I really mean "I am not going to confuse my dog." Long ago, I changed my release word because I use "OK" in too many situations. I never saw a dog break on a wrongly meant "OK," but people are pretty careful in class.

I've seen great changes in training methods at classes. The results, as far as how trained the dogs and humans are at the end, seem to be similar. However, the positive methods seem much better for the relationship between the dog and the human.

I hope this posting has been clear,
Posted by crazycrayonmom
Jan 6, 2010
I use wait for feeding, I make them wait after I put the food down, treats, I make them wait before they get their big treats, ie a nice juicy bone and when I am putting a leash on the other dog or going down the stairs, etc.

To my dogs wait is less structured because I'm not requiring them be an a certain position while they wait. They can sit, stand, lie down or balance on their head if they want. There is always a release command after wait. Stay on the other hand means stay in the last position I told you. So if I said "sit" right before I said "stay" then they stay seated until released. Again a release command is required before they move. That is the difference between my wait and stay commands.
Posted by kjd
Jan 6, 2010
Thank you, crazycrayonmom.

Your wait is what kids do on the red light of red light/green light, except they can breathe? Or can the standing dog sigh and lie down since he knows it takes you a while to get that food down where it belongs?

BTW, please post a picture of the one that stands on his head!

Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jan 7, 2010
Hi kjd and crazycrayonmom,

Now that I think more about Stay and Wait, I have to confess that I hardly use Stay in my daily life with my doggies. I cannot think of a scene where I really need them to stay at a position and not move.

As you guys mentioned, I often make them wait while I go get something I forgot before leaving for a walk, while I put the leash on them, while I prepare their meals, while I carry groceries from the car, while I open the front door, etc.

The most practical way I have found for "Wait" command is when I open the hatchback of my car. My 3 dogs ride in the hatchback and when I open it I always tell them to "Wait". They never jump out of the car until I tell them to "Come on guys". This is very important for a safety reason.

kjd, I like the way Sunna "Waits" at the top or bottom of the stairways until you finish climbing up/down the stairs. I usually let the dogs go out the door first because I have to make sure the door is closed since Oliver the cat sneaks out if I go out the door first but you can use "Wait" while you go out the door first in the same usage as your stairways.

"Wait" is a handy command, isn't it?
Posted by kjd
Jan 7, 2010
"Wait" [B][I]is [/I][/B]a handy command, Max. However, I think if you were a fly-on-the-wall in most homes with obedience-trained dogs, you would find that "stay" is used in the same way you use "wait."

People go to class and train their dogs. They graduate and go back to real life. "Down, Fido!" goes back to meaning "stop jumping on me." Fido is fine if he lies down or sits when told "Sit." (Or, maybe, "off" is used to stop the jumping up, but for "down" a sit or down is acceptable.) "Stay" begins to mean "don't get into my face until I finish what I am doing." "Heel" means "don't pull too hard on the leash." Something magical has occurred. Members of two different species are communicating what they want and are getting it!

Most people don't really want an obedience-trained dog, they want a well-behaved one. Obedience training gives them the tools to communicate. Dogs, being smarter than we are, learn exactly what it is we want and give it to us.

I had a dog in advanced basic who always pulled me. The instructor, in disgust, took the lead -- but the dog knew the command and heeled beautifully for him. Back to pulling with me. Somehow, I hurt my back. She never pulled me again. How she knew, I don't know, but she realized pulling was out now.

Guess that finishes wait vs sit!