The Method: Stay

The first step in teaching your dog the “stay” command is teaching him/her the “sit” command. The “stay” command is beneficial to owners because it can be used to prevent your dog from approaching certain people and/or objects (We’ve all experienced the doorbell ringing and our dogs running to the door). It can also be used to make your dog stay put in dangerous or stressful situations (crossing the street, for example).

After teaching the dog to sit, purchase a shorter leash and clip it to your dog’s collar. Give the dog the “sit” command and hold your palm flat out, facing the dog, and walk slowly backwards.

As you’re gaining distance from the dog, repeat the command “stay” several times. If the dog doesn’t make any attempt to move, give him/her a treat and praise. If the dog moves, calmly bring the dog back to his/her original position and repeat the steps. The proper command in this case is to use the dog’s name, followed by “stay.” So, “Ty, stay” rather than “Stay put, Ty.”

Once your dog is able to stay put for approximately 15 steps of you moving away, unclip the leash and walk around the dog, testing its ability to stay. If the dog stays, immediately reward him/her with a treat. As the dog becomes more of an expert, increase the time interval between the command and the reward. Start with 1 minute of “staying” and then gradually increase to 5 minutes, one additional minute at a time.

The Tricks

Additional Tips

  • Once the dog has mastered the trick indoors, try to repeat the trick outdoors. There are far more distractions outside, the change of environment will challenge the dog.
  • Remain patient and calm. Always use praise – never use punishment.
  • When the dog looses focus, the training session for that day is essentially over. Make sure the dog understands that you are in charge and should be paid attention to.
  • Remove the treat reward and substitute for verbal praise only.
  • Practice the trick regularly.