Teach Your Dog to Stay in 5 Steps

Training your dog to stay is a useful command and it’s a part of the ‘general obedience’ guidelines for a well-rounded dog. A dog who knows the ‘stay’ command is more likely to have manners when you have guests, while you’re eating a meal, and during travel.

Like other commands, ‘stay’ may time some time. It’s important to remain calm, patient, and consistent while your dog is learning.

Don’t forget, positive reinforcement methods should be utilized to prevent behavioral problems and increase the bond you share with your dog.

What Do I Need for this Training?

You don’t need much to train your dog how to stay. All you need is a quiet area free from distractions and a handful of kibble or treats (don’t forget your dog’s diet should not be over 10% treats).

Before teaching your dog to stay, be certain she understands the ‘sit command.’ This won’t work if she hasn’t learned how to sit on command yet.

Step 1: Teach Her to Sit

As stated above, be certain your dog knows how to sit. If your dog doesn’t know how to sit, you’ll need to teach her this before moving onto step 2.

Step 2: Grab the Treats

Step 2 involves those treats we asked you to grab earlier. Place the treats in your pocket or cup them in your hand for now.

Then, tell your dog to sit when you’re ready.

Take a few steps back while saying the word ‘stay.’ You’re going to have to sound a bit like a broken record during this step. Repetition is important.

If your dog doesn’t move, say “okay” to let her know it’s acceptable to get up. Once she returns to you, give her a treat. She’s done a great job.

If your dog starts to follow you rather than stay put, simply say “no.” Walk your dog back to the same location she was sitting in before and try again.

Some dogs may catch onto this immediately whereas others may take weeks to learn. Every dog is different and learns differently (and some dogs are a bit stubborn, right?).

Step 3: Repetition is Critical

Be sure to repeat step two multiple times per day until your dog has mastered the command. Once a few days go by (or longer) you can move onto step 4.

Step 4: Increase the Distance

Now that your pup has mastered all the steps mentioned above, we’re going to move onto increasing the distance between us and our dog.

Increase the distance by taking a few more steps backwards than you did before while repeatedly saying the word ‘stay.’ If your dog isn’t quite ready for you to go that far away, bring her back to her sitting area and try again just as you may have before.

Step 5: Moving to Different Areas

Once your dog has mastered the ‘stay’ command inside the house, you can move onto different areas like your fenced-in yard, dog park, or other area where you know your dog is safe. Bringing your dog away from your home is also important as your dog will learn how to listen to you with distractions.

The Take-Away

Don’t forget to be patient with your dog while she’s learning a new command. To help her learn, you should bring her for a walk first so she’s calmer and better able to pay attention to you. You want your dog to be in a peaceful state of mind, so you know she’s listening attentively.

If you notice your dog having a hard time concentrating, don’t worry. Wrap it up and call it a day. Try again tomorrow.