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Training Your Dog To Stay

Training your dog to 'stay' means helping him to understand that you expect him to sit, or lie down, in one spot for short (or later on, extended) period of time.

Training your dog to stay

And that you don't need to be right next to him while he 'stays'.

You can probably already see why this is so useful!

Most pups and dogs grasp this obedience command pretty quickly.

But you'll need to build up the amount of time Fido will stay put, and how far away you can go (eventually you'll be able to go out of his line of sight) slowly and carefully.

Go too far, too fast and he'll get anxious.

Also, it's helpful to know that it's much easier for your puppy or dog to 'stay' for longer periods when they're in the 'down' position.

He will do a 'Sit-Stay' quite happily (and at first it's often easier to get him to stay still when he's sitting rather than lying down) and to begin with you can't expect him to stay put for more than a few seconds at a time.

Don't be surprised if he slides into a 'down' position, just re-arrange him into the 'sit' and repeat the 'stay' command.

This 'sliding down' may not matter too much if you simply want Fido to stay in one spot, but in a formal obedience setting it's a big no-no, so it's worth making sure he learns how to do it properly now.

As he 'gets the hang of it' and you progress to more advance dog obedience work, you will be expecting him to stay still (in whichever position you put him in) for longer and longer periods. 

But you need to work up to this level slowly.

How To Teach Your Dog To 'Stay'

Training your dog to stay is simple if you follow these straightforward steps....

Print the steps by clicking on the button directly below it.

Dog Obedience Training Commands - Stay

  1. Attach a leash to your pups collar (a long training leash is best for this, but a regular one will work for the first few sessions) and start with your puppy in the sitting position beside your left leg.

  2. Hold your palm  in front of your pup's face, while telling him to 'Stay'.

  3. Keeping your hand as still as you can, step around until you're directly in front of your pup, facing him then raise your hand to chest height with the palm still facing him and repeat the 'stay' command, while maintaining relaxed eye contact. 

  4. If he doesn't move to follow you, immediately tell him 'Good stay' and give him a treat.

  5. Then step back to his side and do it all over again.

Once your little guy is reliable about staying put when you step around to stand in front of him, it's time to move to the next stage which involves you stepping backwards away from him while repeating the 'stay' command.

Here's how to do that....

  1. Once you've stepped around in front of him and then stepped backwards one step keep your hand raised, palm facing your pup and repeat the 'stay' command.

  2. Take a deep breath and count to 5, if he hasn't moved, step forward, praise him and give him a treat - mission accomplished.

  3. After that it's just a matter of gradually increasing the number of steps that you take backwards, and the length of time you ask him to stay put.

I usually work on the distance first, then add the extra time frame.

I've found if I try to add both at once the pup can get confused or worried and we slip backwards a bit.

Eventually you can progress to having your puppy in the 'sit' or 'down' position and then moving out of his line of vision, then coming back in and returning to him without him moving.

All pups are different and yours may start to get antsy when you're less than a foot away from him, others will tolerate 3 feet or more before they start to worry.

You know your pet best, so use his behavior as a guideline.

Get as far as you can without triggering his instinct to follow you and work at that distance until he's comfortable before moving further the next time. 

Build up slowly and be patient.

The Importance Of Training Your Dog To 'Stay'

There are two aims in teaching your puppy or dog to 'stay'.

One is to have him accept you moving away from him without trying to follow you. 


Hand signals can be used for many of the most popular dog obedience training commands.

The 'Stay' command is a natural fit for a physical (hand) signal because dogs instinctively seem to understand the universal hand sign for stop!

The other is to make sure he stays in the sitting position (or down position) for as long as you want him to.

These skills come in very handy in all sorts of situations.

At home, you can make sure your dog stays out of the kitchen while you're preparing dinner, or waits at the door rather than running after you to the mailbox.

When you're out and about, you can use the 'stay' command to keep him from running into the street, chasing after other dogs (or cats), or bothering other people at the vet's office, cafe or whatever.

This short video demonstrates what I've talked about and although it has slight variations to the way that I teach the 'Stay', overall it's very similar and will help you see exactly what I've described....

Step-by-step Guides To Training Your Dog To:

› Training Your Dog To Stay

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