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Discussion Starter #1
Do you use the commands 'wait' and 'stay' differently? How do they differ?

I remember covering this a bit in puppy class but it must not have sunk in. My dog has a pretty solid 'wait' that we use all of the time, but we haven't done much with 'stay'. I've probably confused them beyond separation now.
 

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In competition obedience I use 'wait' if I will be calling the dog out of it (such as in a come command) and 'stay' means that I will always come back and release him when I'm beside him.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do you think there's value in separating the two, if she's only ever going to be a pet? At most, someday, we would maybe try some agility stuff, but never formal obedience (I don't think).
 

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For me:

Wait = You'll get a release to do the thing you want to do. Ie: Wait before you get the ball I threw, wait at the door before going out, wait before you get onto the bed, wait while I unfasten your leash, whatever. It's still usually a 'sit and wait' but in situations of relatively short duration, I don't care about the position and when the dog is released it's free to do whatever.

Stay = We're still working and what follows will be either me coming back to you, or another command - and that other command might be a recall, it might not. And whatever position you are in? Stay in it.

I don't do obedience. I do do agility, and while I use a stay at the startline and a moving wait on course, neither of those are really related to the division between the two for me. It's not really even a particularly trained division. They just learn 'wait' through life. Stay is trained more formally.
 

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Interesting, AsherLove, I hadn’t thought of it that way. I’ve been using them as wait as short term (wait to get out of the car, while I walk around him for rally-o, when I need him to not ‘help’ me down the stairs, etc) and trying to reserve stay as in ‘don’t move your butt until I release you’ in a more long term fashion. The wait is still generally released with either an ‘ok’ or another command. I haven’t religiously practiced stays, but he does seem to get it better than I would have thought. (I was impressed when my father in law told him to stay, and he held it for a few minutes until he came back to release him. I was very thankful I didn’t have to correct either of them! I don’t want the stay ruined by him thinking he only has to hold it until he gets bored, even if I never compete in traditional obedience.)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, this is all interesting feedback. I use 'wait' with Klara in a lot of situations:

* At the door, maybe for a second, or even when I walk outside to check that we're cat-free
* When walking, if I stop to tie my shoe, she'll 'wait' in place and not tug to keep moving until I give the ok
* We've been using it for barking when off leash in the yard. She'll work herself up into a lather if the neighbor dogs start going, so I'll use 'wait' to keep her in place until I can get to her and redirect her

I release them all with an 'ok'. She doesn't have much of a long term 'stay in place' command yet.
 

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For Brae, I use 'wait' for everything and it means 'don't move, hold your position'. Usually I use it as I lead out with a toy or to set something up, but it also means stay by me as cars pass by, let me put a treat on your nose, stop chasing the toy, etc. I'll say 'sit, wait' sometimes to keep a position. But really, I've trained 'sit' as sit-and-don't-change-position so I'm being redundant.

For Sor, he knows a 'stay' for position' and 'wait' for treat on the ground or something. But it is also redundant, which is why I took what I learned from him and simplified for Brae.
 

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I suppose the argument could be make that "wait" and "stay" are somewhat redundant in my case as well, but I use them in different contexts. I have 2 dogs- Evie is 2, and a pet, and Arlo is ~9 months, and in training as my service dog.

"Stay" means "stay in the position you're in until you are released or receive another command". That command may be a position change (I like working on sit/down transitions because I think it helps dogs learn the difference between a sit and a down, which many struggle with- one day I'll introduce a stand transition as well), or it may be a recall. Sometimes the other command is also a release cue for a specific behavior I know they want to do- for example, my older dog has both sniffing/exploring ("go sniff") and running ("go run" if she's running on her own, or "let's run" if she's running with me) on cue for premack-related releases, I'd guess you call them. Ie, when I know she wants to do a specific behavior or will enjoy doing a specific behavior in that moment I will cue her for that specific behavior. "Stay" is a more formal cue. For my pet dog, it will come into play when I start working her in some of the sports I want to do (I use it for agility start lines now, will eventually use it for rally/obedience and barn hunt once we get around to those). For my service dog in training, I use it often when we're in public, in situations where I might ask for a stay so I can leave him in an out-of-the-way place so that I can easier do something, or example holding a stay under a table while I walk across the coffee shop to put sugar and milk in my coffee and return. I very rarely call him out of a stay in a recall when he is working, to avoid deteriorating the integrity of the command (ie, avoid the potential problem of a dog who breaks the stay in anticipation of being recalled).

"Wait" means "stop all forwards movement and focus on me". It is generally ended by either a general release cue ("release"), or a cue for forwards movement ("let's go") I use it rarely with my pet dog- pretty much exclusively when we're going through doors or for her to wait for a release for dinner. It can be both stationary (waiting for food) and in motion (at doorways, stopping when told). For my service dog in training, however, it is one of our most vital cues for working in public. I most often use it when we're navigating more crowded areas. The goal for him is to work on a hands free leash eventually, so he has to be responsive to verbal movement commands, and this one is invaluable when I need to stop and start movement as we're walking through other people, turning corners in a crowded place, or even just moving slowly. I still use it as a release for dinner and through doorways, but for him it's used much more when in motion versus stationary.

Personally, I like to distinguish between to two. In terms of whether they're useful to separate for a pet dog... I think it's more a matter of preference. Obviously, people do use a single command to mean both "stay in that position" and "do not move forwards" (as Canyx demonstrates with Brae). Also, as Canyx points out, there is a certain level of redundancy. None-the-less, I separate them out because as CptJack also says, I find the concept I call "wait" is taught in the course of life, while the concept I cal. "stay" needs to be more formally trained. In the early stages, I would worry equally about confusing the dog (training what I consider to be two different, though closely related and eventually very similar) concepts under one cue, and about confusing the human (because I think a different process is used to teach each concept).
 

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In competition obedience I use 'wait' if I will be calling the dog out of it (such as in a come command) and 'stay' means that I will always come back and release him when I'm beside him.
This, for me.

Both of these cues are useful not only for competition, but for everyday life as well. And both have a very clear and consistent release of one form or the other.

I also have a third, more casual "hang loose" or hang command that I use in instances when I want the dog to maintain a very general position (ie: when I go through a yard gate and don't want the dog to follow, or during routine grooming etc) although no formal release is forthcoming. The dog is free to move / break position on his own accord once the task or action I'm performing is complete.
 

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I use "wait" when my dog is going to have to do something afterwards. Like, I will tell him to wait while I walk away, and then I might call him to me. Or at the start line for agility, he is told to wait. Or wait to go out a door.

I use "stay" when I need him to stay in that exact spot until I return to him and release him.
 

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"Wait" = stay there in that location until I give you another cue.

"Stay" = stay here in that spot, in that position, until I return to you and release you.

Generally, when I give "Stay" I am right there with the dog and intend to return right to the dog to give a release ("okay"). I use "Wait" more generally - on off-leash walks, I'll tell the dogs to wait if they're getting too far in front of me, or getting out of the car, or doing an agility sequence.
 

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same here... wait in general area, but you can do what you want for positions and moving around

stay is don't move from position....

both have the same release ...
 

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same here... wait in general area, but you can do what you want for positions and moving around

stay is don't move from position....
This is what I do too.
 

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I use wait at the door before I let him outside or to have him stop where he is to fix his leash or waiting to jump on the bed until I get the covers situated or I use a wait before I call him to me
Things like that
When I use wait he can sit lay stand anything he wants as long as he stays in that general spot until I tell him another command
Stay is very strict to me it means he has to stay exactly how he is and cannot move from that position until I come back to him and release him so if I have him in a sit stay he has to stay in a sit until I walk back to him and release him
I use wait all the time but stay is just for training and at the vet right now lol



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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you for all of the input. Group classes still aren't ideal for us, but I think I may try an online training thing to go back to basics a little bit and separate these things out. Which reminds me of another post I need to make....
 

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I used both commands early on however all place commands such as sit, stand, down and others I no longer use "stay". It's a double command. Why do you need an extra command for the same thing? The next command will tell the dog something else. I do use "wait". This is before going up or down stairs, in or out of doors, in or out of the truck and if the long leash gets tangled or between her legs. Generally when I need her to stop for a moment or two. I give a release command to proceed. Eventually with exception of the last one, I'll stop using wait too. It will be automatic.

Sits are automatic when walking and I stop, unless I want something different. I'll use stand if I don't want her to sit in mud or water for example. There are times when these commands are needed in streetwise movement. We don't do competition training so these commands have to be able to be done anywhere. Even when out in fields.

I don't even use her name except when praising. Dogs don't know name like we do. It's a good marker in training but I delete it when the commands are clear to the dog.

I use hand signals for many commands. Whether my hand is turned up or down or how my fingers are used is the command.

Byron
 

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This, for me.

Both of these cues are useful not only for competition, but for everyday life as well. And both have a very clear and consistent release of one form or the other.

I also have a third, more casual "hang loose" or hang command that I use in instances when I want the dog to maintain a very general position (ie: when I go through a yard gate and don't want the dog to follow, or during routine grooming etc) although no formal release is forthcoming. The dog is free to move / break position on his own accord once the task or action I'm performing is complete.
This is what I do, as well. My more casual direction is "this way", which means - whatever you're doing, you need to come back toward me. I don't need her to "come", as in - come all the way to me and sit, nor do I need her to "heel" by my side, but - stop going that way and stick a little closer - stay in this zone. Very helpful for off-leash hiking.

"Stay", for sure is - whatever the position when I say it, that's how she should remain until released. We practice "wait" a lot on trails - it's very convenient when negotiating tricky terrain and you don't want your dog pulling you down the rocks or knocking you over or something.
 
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