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How To Train a Dog To Stay

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

Almost everyone loves dogs. They make great companions and can even become part of the family. That's one reason why almost 40% of households own dogs.

A dog's loyalty is one of its defining traits, and it's one of the reasons we love our canine pals. But we don't always want our dog following us everywhere. That's why it's so important to train your dog to stay on command.

Obedience dog training in the DFW area
Practicing obedience downtown

To help you, we've put this dog training guide together. It's packed full of tips on training your dog, so we hope you find it useful. Read on for everything you need to know about how to train a dog to stay!

How to Train a Dog to Stay

"Stay" is one of the most basic commands in a dog's repertoire. Or at least it should be. But training a dog to stay may require a little patience and perseverance.

Every dog is different. So it's worth taking their personality, breed, and background into account. You may wish to alter the way you do things slightly based on these features.

Strong Foundations

Before you can teach your dog anything, you need a strong starting point. Your dog needs to feel safe and happy. They should know that they can trust you, and they should feel that learning commands and tricks is a fun and enjoyable experience.

You should be in a good mood today! If you're in a hurry or having a bad day, you likely won't be in a good frame of mind to complete the training. You need to be relaxed and cheerful for best results, as this will help you to stay patient.

Work Out a Schedule

Before you begin training your dog, try to sketch out a plan for when you'll do lessons. It's important that you stick to a regular training schedule or your dog might forget what they've learned.

Try to do lessons every day, or at least every other day. Lots of quick, regular lessons are much preferable to longer, less regular lessons. This is the best way to reinforce the lesson for your pet.

If your dog has multiple owners or lives as part of a family group, try to involve everyone in training the dog. You don't want your dog learning to follow your commands but no one else's.

Teach Sitting

Most dogs know how to sit on command. If yours doesn't, you will need to teach this command before you begin. Sitting is important to the stay command.

Some breeds of dogs, greyhounds for example, may struggle to sit down due to the size or position of their back leg muscles. If this is the case, you can ask your dog to lie down as an alternative.

Some owners prefer to train a dog to stay while lying down. This can make the dog easier to control and reduce aggression in reactive dogs.

Use Simple Commands

Once your dog is sitting, hold up your hand and clearly say the word "stay". Repeat the word a few times to help your dog understand the word and reinforce its use as a command phrase. Say Good Stay, to mark what it IS they are doing that is good. This of course, assumes you have already taught your dog the Marker Word Good. If you have not, teach Marker Words first for they make all other training go faster and make it easier for you to mark the behavior for your dog.

After you are able to work up to at least 30 seconds, take a few steps back from your dog. In all likelihood, your dog will get up and try to follow you. When they begin to walk towards you, say "no" in a flat voice and walk back up to them and have them sit again.

Repeat this process until your dog begins to stay put as you move across the room. Praise your dog when they still and give them a treat to reinforce this good behavior. Be sure to have a large stock of your pooch's favorite snacks to help them get enthusiastic about training.

Call Your Dog Over

Once your dog is used to sitting and staying on command, try walking across the room, and then calling your dog over to you. You can reward them with a treat and praise, then ask them to sit and stay again. But don't reward them if they approach you without being called first.

This step helps your dog understand the need to stay until they're called over. By reinforcing this part of the training, your dog will learn to wait for your okay to move.

Expand the Training

Once your dog is used to sitting still while you walk across the room, it's time to extend your training! Don't just back up a few steps, but try walking across the yard or into another room.

It may take a while for this step to stick, so keep at it. Eventually, with a lot of patience and praise, your dog should get the idea and you'll have mastered the stay command.

If you really want to master the stay command, you may need to try more elaborate techniques. Try following the above steps, but run away from your dog instead of walking. If your dog can quell their instinct to rush after you, you'll know your training has been a success.

Professional Training For Your Pooch!

Dogs crave structure and authority. By learning how to train a dog to stay, you can get a happier, healthier home life with your dog.

But training at home can be tough for the average person. You might not have the time, knowledge, or resources to train your pet effectively. That's why it can be helpful to call in outside help.

Here at K-9 culture, we offer a range of dog training courses to suit your needs. From puppies to aggressive dogs, our training methods are proven to work. Book a consultation today to find out more about how we can help.

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