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When training gun dogs or any breed of dog for that matter it is essential you master basic commands like the ‘sit and stay’ command. This will result in nothing but a better and happier life for both owner and dog. The sit is always useful in situations where you want the dog to be calm, steady, relaxed and to await your next command. The stay is very important and comes in whether the dog is a working dog or a pet dog, for instance for a working dog the stay will be used frequently in the field when the handler wants the dog to wait until he says its time to retrieve the bird or if the handler wants to retrieve the bird himself. For the pet dog stay will be useful when out for walks, picnics or even if you need to pop in a shop.

Here is an example how I teach my dogs to sit and stay. Start with the dog on a short slip lead and walking by your side at a nice relaxed controlled pace. When you are ready come to a stop, with the dog on the lead it too will stop. Making eye contact with the dog and in a firm (not angry) voice say the command ‘sit’ whilst at the same time raising your arm slightly and showing him the palm of your hand. once he sits praise your dog then start to walk on after a few more metres repeat the process. As your dog progresses you will be able to loosen the lead more and more until a lead is no longer needed.

For the stay command, walk as if your training to sit and have him on a lead. Walk a few meters get the dog to sit, let go of the lead and again in a firm voice say the command ‘stay’ also using you hand signal. Walk a few metres, stop and then walk back to him when you get there praise like mad! Each time you do this increase your distance and even walk in a large circle around him. Unless you have a wonder dog he will fidget or try to follow you when he does it is very important to take him back to the exact place you told him to stay and then repeat the command.

Just remember that when training little steps at a time and big praise when they do well even if its not perfect!

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