How to Teach a Dog to Stay on Command: 5 Quick Ways

How to Teach a Dog to Stay on Command: 5 Quick Ways

Being a dog owner isn't that easy if you want to have a well-trained pup.

One of the most basic commands that will make your life easier is to stay. Why am I saying this? Teaching your dog to stay can:

  • keep him safe from random threats
  • keep distance while preparing his healthy dog meal or his treats
  • keep distance while feeding another dog
  • help you pass away with a heavy weight without dropping anything on the ground
  • be just for fun

Even it can be hard to teach your dog to stay because you have an energetic playful pup, this process should be repeated daily.

Before passing through the learning steps, you must know that dogs have short attention spans. That means that even if he somehow does the "stay" at home, once he gets outside he will completely ignore your command. So, all your training sessions shouldn't be more than 5 minutes.

Don't be discouraged if your commands don't work on the first try!

How do you practice a dog staying command?

Teaching a dog to stay on command can be relatively easy, but it depends on the individual dog's personality, previous training, and level of focus. Some dogs may pick up the command quickly and easily, while others may take more time and patience.

1. Train your dog how to stay by hand feeding


Feeding a dog by hand while doing commands is easier and faster to obtain a result.

The main reasons for hand-feeding your dog while training is a relationship, trust-building, and impulse control.

Instead of feeding him by simply leaving the food in the bowl, try to switch to hand feeding while training.  You can use this method as a reward for listening and doing a good "stay".

By applying this method you'll not only train your dog easier but strengthen your bond, too.

2. Always begin with baby steps

baby steps to teach your dog

I think this info should be good advice to follow for anyone in everything we do.

One of the best examples is this: When you begin learning to drive for the first time, you'd prefer to avoid crowded city streets. Well, apply this for your dog, too. Be sure you begin somewhere quiet without any distractions for him like other dogs, kids, balls, or anything that may distract him. Be sure to be close to your dog when you start the command "stay".

Otherwise, if he hears "stay" across the room, or the garden, your dog will think that maybe you called him and he'll start to run or to come next to you.

👶🏼 Here are the baby steps:

  1. Begin the lesson by standing right in front of your dog.
  2. Hold your hand, take a small step back, and reward him when he stands still for a split second.
  3. If your pup holds the position for a second or two, be sure to say "Good stay" using the warmest voice you can, while you're giving him the treat
  4. Follow the treat with lots of chin and ear scratches.
  5. Repeat the process, but make your dog hold the position for a few seconds longer before you give him the tasty treat

By doing this, your dog will learn that he can have good things when he does the "stay".

Observation: This step may take some time and fail until your dog learns the meaning of the command. You must know that not all dogs learn to "stay" in just a few days. So, stick with your patience, and greater results will come for sure.

3. Slowly increase the distance

Once your dog finally learned the "stay" command, it's time to slowly increase the distance.

The next time you exercise, start modifying the angle from which you back up. Don't always go in the same direction. Switch the positions after every "stay".

Once your dog knows perfectly the “stay” command, you can gradually make it more challenging. Keep one foot away from your dog when you command him to "stay", then two feet away, and continue to extend the distance.

4. Slowly remove treats and replace them with jackpots

One of the best tactics that will learn your dog to "stay" without treats every time is by replacing the treats with jackpots.

Once your dog has learned how to stay, even at a distance, the next step is offering a bunch of 5 treats, all together at the third successful "stay".

Practically, you'll stop giving your dog the treat right after he does an awesome "stay". You will give him a bunch of treats/jackpots once it does a successful "stay" three times in a row.

This  tactic will teach your pup two important things:

  1. He will not receive any goodies each time they respond to one "stay" command
  2. If he continues to follow your instructions, he will receive a "gold mine" of treats

5. Master the “stay”  in different places and scenarios

If your dog succeeds to respond to "stay" every time you ask for it, then it's time to try the training in different places that may distract him.

For this training, you have to be prepared with a lot of treats. Try to practice everywhere: randomly on the street, in the park, in the parking lot, and everywhere your dog may be distracted.

This training will need a lot of patience, too. Just repeat what you've learned and don't give up.

🐾 Other challenges:

  • Ask him to "stay" when your back is turned
  • Ask him to "stay" when there’s another dog or other person in the distance, then quite close by, then right next to your doggo
  • Ask him to "stay" when you’re bouncing a ball

What to do if your command it’s not working

What to do if your command it’s not working
If your dog is just not listening to you, and your command is in vain, try to see what is the source of distraction and keep him away from it. Something may be distracting him. Try again and be firmer!

If he is just naughty and he has no mood to listen and instead of it he plays with you, just be firm.

If you’ve been trying for a while and your pup knows already the "stay" command, but he is bored, you can try to make your voice a little bit sharp when he is moving out of position. Don’t punish, tho'!

If you tried and did your best, but your pup is still stubborn and doesn't cooperate, AKC has a helpline that could guide you on how to handle your dog's training.

That's all! Hope these tips will help you teach your dog how to stay. Good luck and don't forget that patience and perseverance are the keys to any training!

Paws and love!🐾