It is very important to teach your dog to Stay. This is the second command, after Sit, you should teach your dog.
Sit and Stay commands together are vital for the dog’s wellbeing. It is nothing worse when your dog does not listen, runs off, and could be hit by a car.
By this time your dog should already respond to the sit command as sit and stay commands work best together.
Simple steps to teach your dog to Stay
Our goal: The dog stays in the sit position until released.
- Keep your dog focus on you and make sure there are no distractions around
- Ask your dog to sit, this is good base position to ‘stay’ command because it will be easier to hold this position later on.
- Say ‘stay’ and show flat hand, move two steps away and return to your and say ‘yes’ and reward it with a treat.
- If your dog moves before you return and release him/her don’t reward it, but gently put him/her back at the same spot where you started this exercise.
- Progress your training by gradually extending the distance and later on also the time you ask your dog to stay.
Capri at the beginning of learning this command was not able to hold her position when she heard our voices. We limited our verbal communication and made a hand gesture to stay. This helped her maintain her position.
Guess what my master say when I do a good Stay trick?
You are so paw-fect my Queen. I will love you fur-ever!Queen Capri
Try mini Stays first
It is always important to be patient with your dog especially if it is still a puppy. Young dogs are full of energy and get distracted easily.
In the beginning, you can try mini Stays. Sometimes it could be half a second, but that’s ok. Reward your dog and try again. This time for a little longer.
Note that different breeds learn at a different pace so adjust your teaching pace and difficulty to the breed of dog you have.
If you have a border collie, german shepherd, or golden retriever the training could be going faster in comparison to other breeds.
Once your dog knows how to Stay for a few seconds it is time you start mastering the Stay command.
Mastering Stay command
This is the time when your dog is already capable of responding to your Stay command for at least a few seconds.
To move it to the next level you need to make it more challenging for your dog. It is easy to train a dog inside the house or in the backyard, but when it comes outside the dog is exposed to a real environment.
And the real challenge comes when there are distractions around, but before we move there let’s slowly introduce more advanced steps in your Stay command.
Move away further
It is a simple procedure of moving away further from the dog while in the Stay command. Try to increase your distance slowly so your dog will not feel abandoned and try to ‘rescue’ you.
Turn your back
This could be difficult as you lose eye contact with your dog. The dog may feel that it is the end of training.
What you can do is repeat the Stay command while you are turning your back.
Allow other dogs around
Now, we are moving to the last three, and most difficult steps.
Your dog will almost certainly break the Stay command when it first time sees other dogs around. With other dogs around, initially don’t move away too far, maybe one meter, and see if your dog remains in the spot.
Once this is working you can again increase your distance while other dogs are around.
Keep or bounce a ball
If your dog likes running for a ball (like our Capri does), remaining in one spot could be quite challenging.
First, try only showing the ball, then move away from a meter or two and see how your dog reacts.
Finally, bounce the ball and play with it. Remember to reward your dog frequently.
Hold kibble in your hand
This is similar to the ball. Command your dog to Stay, move a little bit and show it the kibble. You may repeat the command if the dog wants to move.
If your dog reacts correctly move a little bit further, say a release command, and finally, reward your dog.
Teach your dog to Stay – the biggest challange
Stay command may seem like an easy one but mastering it is a different story. The most important is to be patient, never scream at your dog and always reward it after a successful attempt.
Brain Training for Dogs
Brain Training for Dogs was developed by CPDT-KA certified dog trainer Adrianne Farricelli. CPDT-KA stands for Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed.
Adrienne lives in Arizona with her husband and two amazing Rottweilers and she is passionate about dogs. She was featured in USA Today and Every Dog magazine and also contributed to eHow and All Experts.
Her Brain Training for Dogs program helped thousands of struggling dog owners all over the world.