Dogs are incredibly smart animals. They can learn a lot in just minutes of training.
Not only is it important to train your dog for their own health and mental stimulation, but you also need to train your dog so that you have control in public.
One of the most important commands to train your dog is ‘Stay’. This command is vital in maintaining control of your dog outside the home.
It might seem a little complicated to teach your dog to stay, but don’t worry, that’s where I come in.
I have created this guide with simple step-by-step instructions for you to follow so you can easily teach your dog how to stay.
Why Should You Train Your Dog To Stay?
When most people get a new dog, they often think about teaching that dog to do fun tricks like playing dead or spinning around.
Some dog owners can often forget how important it is to start teaching your dog the basics, and one of the most important basic commands to teach your dog is ‘Stay’.
There are multiple reasons why this command is so vital when owning a dog and here are some of them:
It Keeps Your Dog Safe
When you tell your dog to stay, you are telling them that they should not leave the place they are in. This is perfect for example when you need to safely open your front door.
Some dogs have been known to run out of the front door when it is opened and into a busy road.
Telling your dog to stay will ensure they do not run outside when you are not ready for them to do so.
It Teaches Them Boundaries
Teaching your dog to stay teaches them boundaries. Some dogs tend to follow their owners around, and will jump all over you given the chance.
Whilst this is not always an issue, there may be times such as when you are eating or have guests over that you may want your dog at a respectful distance. The ‘Stay’ command can help you to achieve this.
It Helps Them To Control Their Impulses
Dogs are known to want to run, chase, and play with other dogs.
Though this is not an issue when you are prepared for your dog to do this, it can be an issue if your dog tries to do this whilst you are holding a lead, or with another dog who needs to be given space.
Teaching your dog to stay will allow them to have more control over their impulses, it can help make sure they do not leave your side when you are near other dogs.
It can also help to stop them from chasing your cat!
How To Teach A Dog To Stay
Now that you are aware of why it is important to teach your dog to stay, let us look at how to do so.
If you’re a new owner of a puppy or an older dog that has never been trained before, it can be tough to know where to start when you first get home with them.
The best way to train your dog is by using positive reinforcement techniques.
This will help your dog understand the commands you give them, which in turn will make them more willing to obey.
So with that in mind, here is how to positively teach your dog how to stay.
First thing’s first, you need to find somewhere quiet to work on training your dog.
If you live in a house, then find a room or quiet area that you can use.
If you don’t, or your house is very chaotic then consider taking your dog to a friends house. As a last resort you could try your local park, but I don’t usually recommend outdoor training for basic commands as you need to be confident in your dogs ability before you let them off leash in public.
Whichever option you choose, just make sure there are no noises or distractions.
Once you have found a quiet space, you need to prepare yourself mentally. Training your dog in the early stages can be a little frustrating, so it’s important you put yourself in the right mindset for a positive and fun session.
You need to be relaxed and calm as this will show your dog that you should both be focusing. Once your dog is in the right mindset, you can begin training them.
You should also think about the position you want to teach your dog to stay in. This can be anything from sitting, laying down, or even standing.
I prefer to put my dog in a sitting position or a down position initially, and work up to a standing stay once my dog is understanding the command.
The key to teaching stay is to be fast in your movement and your reward.
The first thing you need to remember is your treats. Make sure your dog has seen the treats and knows that a training session will be starting.
Initially you are not going to be walking away from your dog for the first few goes.
Instead, you want to put them in the starting position and then put your hand out in front of you so your palm is flat and facing your dog, then you want to say the command ‘Stay’.
You will need to reward them quickly before they move. The aim of this exercise is to teach them that staying put in that position will get them a reward.
Do this step a few times until you think your dog is starting to understand.
Now it is time to take it up a level. When you place your hand out in front of you and say the command ‘Stay’, you want to take a short step back away from your dog.
Only take this step back for a second before quickly coming back to your dog and rewarding them.
You are trying to teach your dog to stay where they are even if you move away. You should repeat this step until you feel confident your dog knows to stay.
After your dog has mastered staying put with you being a step away for one second, you can begin to increase the time.
The aim is to not allow your dog to break the stay so start by stepping away for two seconds and increasing if your dog stays where they are.
Once you have managed to get your dog to stay for around one minute, you can start to teach your dog to stay with you being further away.
This time say the command and take two steps back but return to your dog after one second.
Then build on the time of being away from your dog, when you are two steps back.
Eventually, you should be able to have your dog stay as you go into another room.
The key to making sure your dog learns how to stay is by repeating the steps but taking everything slowly.
It is possible to make your dog stay in the same position for around twenty minutes.
Remember that dogs learn at different speeds than humans and some dogs may only pick things up over time while others may pick things up immediately.
So don’t expect to see any results straight away. Teaching your dog how to stay takes a lot of time and patience. It is not something that your dog will master fully within a week or even a few weeks.
You can make your training more complicated as your dog gets better at staying by adding in distractions such as toys or going to a new environment.
We hope that you found this guide helpful and you feel confident enough to teach your dog how to stay.
Please share this article with other people who might find it useful. Thank you for reading!
This video is a great visual guide of the stay command: