How to teach your Dog to stay

Training your dog to stay is a very useful command for dogs to learn.

It allows your dog to exhibit good manners when people come to visit, while you’re eating dinner,or if you are on walk with your impatient dog and meeting an old friend and you want to greet him or her and more. As with most obedience commands, teaching a dog to stay requires a lot of patience, time, and continual repetitions, especially with smaller, hyperactive dogs. Always use positive reinforcement methods when you are teaching your dog to stay, and try to turn the lessons into a fun game so that your dog will want to participate.

You Will Need…

  • A quiet room with few distractions, but plenty of space to move
  • Treats
  • A dog that knows the “sit” command

First Step

Teaching your dog to stay is easier if your dog already knows how to sit. Follow the lessons on how to teach your dog to sit, and then progress onto the stay lesson. If your dog already sits well, have him sit a few times to get him into the right frame of mind.

Second Step

Place a few treats in a pocket, or hide them cupped in your hand. Tell your dog to sit, and when your dog sits take a few steps away from the dog while you say the word ‘stay’ over and over again. Only take a few steps away; if your dog does not move, say “Ok” to let him know he can get up, then quickly give a treat reward. If your dog begins to follow you, just say ‘no’, walk the dog back to the ‘sit’ area, then try again.

Third Step

Repeat step two multiple times a day until your dog begins to associate ‘stay’ with not moving as you walk away. Begin by taking just a few more steps at a time. Let your dog know he can get up by saying “OK” and quickly follow up with a treat reward and a lot of praise when your dog stays.

Step Four

Gradually increase the distance away from your dog while continually saying the word ‘stay.’ Increase the time that your dog is in a ‘stay’ position as well. If your dog breaks the stay command, simply say ‘no’, walk the dog back to the ‘sit’ area and begin again.

Step Five

Perform the ‘stay’ lesson multiple times a day, every day. Once your dog has mastered the ‘stay’ position at home, and for long distances and increased time, practice the lesson in other areas that have more distractions, like your yard or the park. Keep rewarding your dog with plenty of praise as the lessons progress, and slowly phase out the treat rewards.

Helpful Tips

Don’t try to teach your dog to stay when he’s wound up or hyper. Take him for a walk fist, or practice after he’s had a meal. You want your dog to be in a calm frame of mind while teaching commands. Always remember to use the release word “ok” to let your dog know he can get up. You don’t want him to think that he can stand up when he feels like it. If your dog appears bored or disinterested, stop the lessons for the day and try again tomorrow.