Training a dog to stay is one of the most important lessons every dog must learn during puppyhood. This crucial skill is necessary for raising a well-behaved pup that knows how to do as it is told. Learning to ‘stay’ is also important for preventing accidents in dangerous situations so you can be sure a well-trained doggo will be safe no matter where they go. There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when training a pup so we’ll cover those and the steps you should follow to train your dog to stay. It’s worth noting that your dog should ideally know the command ‘sit’ or ‘lie down’ before learning this one as it will improve their chances of picking up this skill quickly and efficiently. So, let’s take a look at some of the top training tips you’ll need to know.
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Top Training Tips
Before we start looking at how to train a dog to stay, it’s worth going over some top tips which you should keep in mind when teaching anything to your canine companion. Although these tips might seem obvious to some pet parents, they really can make a huge difference. So, if you want your pooch to learn some new skills quickly, or if you’re having difficulty training a stubborn pup, try these tips to improve your results.
If you want a good shot at teaching your pup any new skills or behaviors, rewards will play a big role. Using rewards as positive reinforcement to teach your doggo new skills is an age-old concept which works wonders. When training your precious pooch, offer them some form of reward after every time they do the desired action or behavior, this will ensure they learn what is expected of them and don’t do the wrong thing instead. Rewards could mean tasty dog treats, toys or simply praise, using your body language and an excited voice to demonstrate your happiness.
- Short Training Sessions
If you’ve ever tried to study for a long period of time, you’ll know this isn’t always the most effective way to learn. For dogs, this is always the case. Long and laborious training sessions are never the way forward so keep yours short and interesting. Not only will short training sessions save energy for you and your dog, but your pooch will likely learn the skills faster and more easily.
- Try Distractions
If your pup seems to have learned their lessons and they’ve picked up the skill you’ve taught them, they’re ready for advanced training. Try giving the command to ‘stay’ while someone else tries to distract your dog with toys, treats, or by knocking the door. This step will be challenging but if you manage it, your dog will be incredibly well trained and you’ll have an extremely loyal canine companion by your side.
How to Train a Dog to Stay
Now you’re ready to start training your dog to ‘stay’. Before you begin, you’ll need a few things at the ready like a dog collar with a long leash, tasty treats and patience. (The last one is arguably the most important). If you’re training outside or in a large, private backyard, now is the time to put the leash and collar on your pup. If you’re training inside this might not be necessary but it can be useful as it lets your dog know that training is about to take place. Check out our guide on the best dog leashes for more info.
- Step 1
Command your dog to sit or lie down, whichever they know best. After they’ve performed this action, clearly and firmly command ‘stay’ while raising one hand up with the palm facing out as if to indicate ‘stop’. If your dog doesn’t move or fidget, reward them with a treat and/or praise.
- Step 2
Allow your dog to move around by commanding ‘okay’ and releasing them from the previous command. If your dog doesn’t want to move, encourage them by briefly playing with toys. After a short while, command your dog to sit or lie down again. If they immediately do as they’re told, reward them with a treat. This time, when you command ‘stay’ try taking a few steps back to distance yourself from your dog. You might need to keep your hand out in the same position as before for this to be effective. If your dog doesn’t move at all, walk towards them again and reward them with a tasty treat for the good behavior. However, if your dog moves, repeat the process again from the beginning to ensure they know how it works. Repeat this process a few times per training session so your dog really learns what it means to ‘stay’.
- Step 3
As you repeat this process, gradually increase the time your dog ‘stays’ and try stepping further and further away. If your dog does as instructed, reward them with tasty treats, praise and playtime. If your dog doesn’t pick this up quickly, don’t worry. Some dogs just naturally take longer to learn things, just like us humans, but with time, patience and persistence they’ll eventually learn.
- Step 4
So, you now know how to train your dog to stay. The next step is to make this task even more challenging by adding in distractions. As you command your dog to ‘stay’, have someone try to distract your dog with toys or treats. This could also be done at the dog park where your pup might be tempted to run off to play with their puppy pals. If your dog can do this, you can be sure they’ve mastered the command. Just be sure to let them play with their friend immediately afterwards.
Remember: Training your dog to ‘stay’ can be a fairly quick process or a much longer one, potentially spanning weeks or months. Don’t be disheartened if your dog doesn’t get it right away, try to enjoy the learning process and use it as the perfect opportunity for bonding with your precious pooch.
Training your dog to ‘stay’ is an essential skill which must be learned early in puppyhood to ensure your pup grows up to be well-behaved and generally to ensure their safety during everyday activities. So, know you know how to teach a dog to stay and some top tips to make the process as easy as possible.