How to Train Your Dog to Stay

2 of 8 in Series: The Essentials of Training Your Dog in Basic Commands

The Stay command is strongly linked with the Sit command — you rarely see a dog standing up and staying. So, a more accurate name for this command is the Sit and Stay command. Make sure your dog already knows to sit on command. If she does, teaching her to stay should go pretty quickly.

1

Put your dog sitting at your left side, both of you facing the same direction (called Heel position).

Position the rings of his training collar on top of his neck and attach the leash to the dead ring of the collar.

2

Put the loop of the leash over the thumb of your left hand and fold the leash accordion-style into your hand with the part of the leash going toward the dog coming out at the bottom of your hand.

Hold your hand as close to the dog’s collar as you comfortably can. The farther away from the dog’s collar you hold your hand, the less control you have.

3

Apply a little upward tension on the collar — just enough to let him know the tension is there, but not enough to make him uncomfortable.

Don't tug or jerk the leash.

4

Say “Stay” and give the “Stay” signal — a pendulum motion with the right hand, palm facing the dog, stopping in front of the dog’s nose, and then returning to your right side.

Keep your body as straight as you can, and don’t bend over your dog. Before you step away from your dog, make sure that your right hand is at your side again.

5

Take a step to the right, keeping the tension on the collar; count to ten.

Return to your dog’s side, release tension, praise him, and release your dog, taking several steps forward.

6

Repeat Steps 3 to 5, this time changing your position.

Step directly in front of your dog, count to ten, step back to Heel position, release tension, praise, and release.

7

With your dog in Heel position, put the rings of the training collar under your dog’s chin and attach the leash to the live ring of the collar.

Neatly fold your leash accordion-style into your left hand, and place it against your waist where a belt buckle would be, allowing one foot of slack.

8

Say and signal “Stay,” and then place yourself one foot in front of your dog. Keep your left hand at your belt buckle and your right hand at your side, palm open, facing your dog.

If your dog is thinking about moving or actually tries to move, take a step toward your dog with your right foot and, with your right hand, snap the leash straight up to a point directly above his head. Bring your right foot and right hand back to their original positions without repeating the “Stay” command. Count to 30 and pivot back to your dog’s right side. Count to five, praise, and release.

Until you discover how to recognize the signs that you four-legged friend is going to move, chances are you’ll be too late in reinforcing the Stay, and he’ll have moved. When that happens, without saying anything, put him back to the spot where he was supposed to stay, stand in front of him, count to ten, return to heel position, count to five, and release him. Repeat over the course of several training sessions until your dog is steady.

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The Essentials of Training Your Dog in Basic Commands

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