5 Effective Ways to Train a Dog to Stay at Command

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

One command that will make your life easier is: "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 tasty 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

...And many other things.

Even it can be hard to teach your dog to stay because you have an energetic naughty 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 five minutes.

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

5 Effective Ways on How to Teach Your Dog to Stay

1. Train your dog how to stay by hand feeding

train-your-dog-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 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

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 failures 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 the 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 he do 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: random 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


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 more firm!

If he is just naughty and he has no mood to listen and instead of it he plays with you, just be more 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'!

That's all, paw lovers! 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!🐾

Bianca Muche

Bianca Muche