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Stay Fido, Stay! Whether you’re a first-time puppy owner or looking to refine your training techniques, mastering the stay command is essential for a well-behaved and safe furry companion. If you are ready to teach a dog to stay, this quick start guide will have your pup standing still in no time!

Included in this article:

  • Information on the importance of teaching your dog to stay
  • Step-by-step training methods, used by the pros!
  • Recommended products to aid in the process
  • Practical tips to ensure success.

Sit, stay, and learn with us!

teach a dog to stay

Why is the Stay Command Important?

Understanding the significance of the stay command lays the groundwork for effective training. Here’s why it’s a crucial skill for your dog:

  1. Safety: The stay command helps protect your puppy in potentially hazardous situations, such as near roads or around unfamiliar animals.
  2. Control: Teaching your puppy to stay gives you greater control in various scenarios, whether it’s preventing them from rushing out the door or calmly waiting while you attend to other tasks.
  3. Bonding: Training sessions provide an opportunity to strengthen the bond between you and your puppy, fostering trust and communication.

Teaching a dog to stay is not necessarily hard, but it does require patience, consistency, and proper technique.

Some dogs may pick up the stay command quickly, while others may take more time to grasp the concept. The difficulty can also depend on factors such as the dog’s age, breed, temperament, and previous training experiences.

Chances are, this process will be surprisingly easy! The step-by-step guide on how to teach a dog to stay is below.


Teach a Dog to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now let’s dive into the practical steps of training your pet to master the stay command!

  1. Setting the Stage:
    Begin training in a quiet, distraction-free environment to maximize your puppy’s focus. Have some irresistible treats, a sturdy long leash, and a convenient training pouch (my favorites are listed below) to hold treats during sessions.
  2. Introducing the Command:
    a. Start by asking your pet to sit or lie down.
    b. Hold your hand in front of your pup’s nose and say “stay” in a clear, firm voice.
    c. Take a small step back while maintaining eye contact with your dog. If they remain in position, promptly reward them with a treat and praise.
    d. At first, you may only move a short distance away. Gradually increase the distance and duration as your puppy becomes more proficient.
  3. Reinforcing the Behavior:
    Consistency is key to reinforcing the stay command. Practice regularly in different environments and gradually introduce distractions. Keep training sessions short and positive to prevent your puppy from becoming bored or frustrated.
    Don’t add distance or time until you are sure that your pet understands the word and what is being asked of them.
  4. Patience and Positive Reinforcement:
    Training a dog requires patience and a positive attitude. Avoid scolding or punishing your puppy for mistakes, as this can undermine their confidence. Instead, focus on rewarding good behavior with treats and praise to motivate them to obey the stay command willingly.

Don’t be discouraged! Good dog training requires a lot of repetition and a lot of rewards. Your pet deserves your time and patience with this process. Thankfully, most dogs develop longer and more reliable stays very quickly when the training sessions are fun and engaging for them.


Recommended Products for Dog Training

To facilitate your puppy’s training journey, consider investing in the following products:

  1. Treats:
    Choose high-quality, flavorful treats that your puppy finds irresistible. Opt for small, bite-sized treats that are easy to handle during training sessions. Recommended brands include Zuke’s Mini Naturals and Wellness Soft Puppy Bites.
  2. Long Leash:
    A sturdy long leash gives your puppy freedom of movement while allowing you to maintain control during training. Look for a durable leash such as the PetSafe Cotton Training Lead or a waterproof biothane tracking leash.
  3. Training Pouch:
    A training pouch keeps treats readily accessible and your hands free during training sessions. Select a pouch with multiple compartments and a secure closure for added convenience. Popular options include the Ollydog Backcountry and this Silicone Treat Training Bag.

Some pets also benefit from having a target. This would be something like a towel, blanket, bath mat, or rug that they learn to ‘place’ on.


Tips for Success in Dog Training

Here’s a list of practical tips to help you succeed in training your dog to stay:

  1. Keep Sessions Short and Sweet: Keep training sessions short (about 5-10 minutes) to prevent your dog from becoming bored or overwhelmed. Frequent, brief sessions throughout the day are more effective than long, exhaustive sessions.
  2. Be Patient and Consistent: Stay patient and consistent with your training efforts. Dogs thrive on routine and repetition, so be sure to practice the stay command regularly and reward your dog for their efforts.
  3. Gradually Increase Duration: Start by asking your dog to stay for just a few seconds, then gradually increase the duration as they become more comfortable with the command. Remember to reward your dog for staying in place, even if it’s just for a short time.
  4. Use a Release Cue: Introduce a release cue, such as “okay” or “free,” to let your dog know when it’s okay to move again after staying in place. This helps clarify the end of the stay command and prevents confusion.
  5. Practice in Different Environments: Practice the stay command in various locations and situations to generalize the behavior. Start in quiet environments and gradually add distractions, such as other people, dogs, or noises, to challenge your dog’s focus.
  6. Incorporate Distance and Movement: Once your dog is comfortable staying in place, gradually increase the distance between you and your dog. You can also add movement by walking around your dog while they stay, reinforcing their ability to maintain focus regardless of your position.
  7. Use Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog generously with treats, praise, and affection when they successfully stay in place. Positive reinforcement helps strengthen the desired behavior and encourages your dog to repeat it in the future.
  8. Stay Calm and Confident: Dogs are highly attuned to their owners’ emotions, so remain calm, patient, and confident during training sessions. Your demeanor can influence your dog’s behavior and ability to learn effectively.

Stay, Fido, Stay!

Congratulations on taking the initiative to teach your pet the valuable skill of staying put.

Remember to celebrate each small milestone along the way and enjoy the journey of bonding with your furry companion through training. Happy teaching!

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

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