We are currently training our almost 15 week old Shih Tzu to "stay." He can stay for about 30 seconds when I am 10 steps away. I am slowly moving to the garage door, opening it and closing it, then will go outside the door.
Am i doing this right?
I never teach "stay" as a command. If you have to use that word, it means you have not consistently trained down or sit. If the dog is sitting, he is staying until released, the dog is given another command or the dog dies... (OK the last is being facetious).
Seriously, what you need to work on is consistency at the stationary exercise. The dog is not to break the sit or down until you release him. Forget stay. This means if you have the dog "down" and the phone rings or the child suddenly starts crying in the other room you release the dog first then go answer the phone etc.
I am willing to bet the dog sits or downs and releases himself quite often.
As to 10 steps at 15 weeks old and the dog in a stationary exercise, that is VERY GOOD! This dog is a baby and will be a baby in the head until he is about 2-3 years old. If you are getting him breaking at 30 seconds, then back up to 25 seconds. Put him is a sit or down.. take a step away, return and feed in that position and say "good sit.." soft and low or "good down.. " soft and low. This teaches the dog that "good" means you have it right but you are not done yet (this is called a bridge word). Gradually increase the steps and distance. Release the dog with and enthusiastic YES! and ACT enthusiastic and feed.
Note the difference here.. you stay low key in voice and movements for the stationary part of the work and you explode enthusiastically when you are done. Do this randomly and you will also increase your dog's focus on you (because he never knows WHEN you are going to suddenly get really exciting.
Only work on this for a little while. I think less than 5 minutes over all.. and when you release and feed get a toy out and play very actively for longer than you worked.
He is too young for out of site stationary exercises. I don't even start this for several months.. sometimes a year old or more.
Thirty seconds and ten steps away is pretty darned good for a 15 week old puppy.
A stay is made up of what a lot of people call the 3 D's, duration, distance, and distraction. Whenever you increase one, you decrease the others. So if you want to work on increasing duration, you dont go as far away. If you are working on getting more distance, you shorten the time. Once you start adding in distractions, you decrease both duration and distance.
Whether or not you just use a position cue (sit, stand, or down) to mean "don't move until cued otherwise", or add a stay cue is up to you, unless you are training for competition in an organization that doesn't allow it.
This might be something that would interest you. It's a class especially geared to training smaller dogs. https://fenzidogsportsacademy.com/index.php/courses/2016 Since it is a self study class, there are no class forums, but even just the lectures are worth the cost. Don't be put off by the "competition" aspect of it. It would be a great foundation for any dog.