Sit/Stay or Down/Stay
For the sake of this instruction, we will work on the behavior sit-stay. However, down-stay is a perfectly acceptable behavior for our purpose.
Behavior 1 - Sit / Down
Behavior 2 - Stay - 30 seconds
Behavior 3 - Stay - 1 minute
Behavior 4 - Stay while handler leaves
STEP 1. Ask the dog to sit, count in your head Mississippi one and reward.
STEP 2. Repeat STEP 1, but this time you count Mississippi one, Mississippi two and reward.
STEP 3. Repeat STEP 2, but this time you count Mississippi one, Mississippi two, Mississippi three, Mississippi four and reward.
STEP 4. Repeat step 3 and double seconds each time. When you hit the dog’s threshold or his maximum length of time he can stay, you will remain on this number till you can push through in seconds. You will push through by increasing one second at a time and then try to double it. If he succeeds, continue with the original number.
Mississippi 1 + reward
Mississippi 1, Mississippi 2 + reward
Mississippi 1, Mississippi 2, Mississippi 3, Mississippi 4 + reward
...Mississippi 23 Mississippi 24, Mississippi 25, Mississippi 26...
On Mississippi 26 the moves away. Ask for sit and go back to 24 seconds and repeat for 5 to 10 times. Try 26 seconds again. If he succeeds reward, if he fails, go back to 24 seconds and reward another 5 to 10 times. When you get to 26 seconds, reward. From here, you will not double time; you will work on 27 seconds, then 29 seconds, and finally 30.
You will only name the behavior, in this case, stay, once the dog has reached 30 seconds and can exhibit the behavior 10 times in a row, in 10 different locations.
NOTE: For Behaviors 1 - 3, DO NOT move away from the dog. Distance, as it goes, requires the passage of time. If the dog cannot sit and stay in one place, he will likely stand and follow you as you leave him. Moving away is added once the dog has mastered stay consistently in multiple locations with various distractions.