How to Teach Your Dog to Stay
Dog Training

How to Teach Your Dog to Stay

The "stay" command is one of the basic commands like “sitting” or “lying down” that is helpful in various situations, such as keeping your dog away from the door when the bell rings. If you want to know how to teach your dog to stay, we are happy to help.

The article is a comprehensive guide on how to train a dog to “stay.” It provides everything about the stay command, from understanding the command, the steps, and its benefits to common problems and dog training tips.

Understanding the Stay Command

The “stay” command helps in keeping your dog disciplined and acts as an exercise in self-control. Teaching your dog to “stay” is fundamental in the training process. In this command, you instruct the dog to stay still in a stated position, such as standing, lying down, or sitting – even in the presence of distractions. 

Difference Between “Stay,” “Wait,” And “Place” Commands​

“Stay,” “wait,” and “place” are some of the most commonly used commands in dog training. They may look similar, but each has an individual purpose in steering dog behavior.

The “stay” command directs the dogs to remain in a specified position until released by their owner. However, the “wait” command instructs them to pause or delay their actions. It helps instill patience and self-control. The “place” command directs the dogs to go to an appointed area and remain there until released.

Benefits of the Stay Command for Both Dog and Owner​ 

Teaching your dog to “stay” has numerous benefits for you and your canine companion.

  • If your dog runs every time the door opens, teaching them to stay in a specified position may be the solution. The “stay” command helps inculcate self-control and keeps them from getting into hazardous situations. 

  • Staying on command helps improve the communication between you and your dog, consequently strengthening your relationship with them. 

  • Training your dog to stay also helps in mental stimulation as it builds self-control and is a great way to get some relaxation.

Preparing for Training

Before you start training your dog with the “stay” command, you may need to prepare for it. 

Gather Supplies: Collar, Leash, Treats​ 

Equip yourself with all the required tools before you start training a puppy or an adult dog. Gather supplies, such as a collar, a long leash, and treats your dog loves to feast on. Also, it is essential for your dog to know basic cues like “sit” or “lie down.”

Choose a Quiet Training Area​​

Choose a quiet area free from distractions. A conducive environment helps keep your dog stress-free and prevents them from getting distracted during training sessions. According to an article by PetMD, it’s recommended to make sure that your dog is a little tired or relaxed when you start training them to “stay.” This way, they will “sit” or “lie down” easily. 

Step-by-Step Training

Step 1: Basic Sit and Attention

Start with asking your dog to “sit” and look at you. Remember, you can teach the “stay” command to your dog only when they already know the basic “sit” or “lie down” commands. 

Step 2: Introducing the Stay Command

When your dog sits, introduce the stay command by giving a verbal cue “stay” and a hand signal. Hold your hand up with a flat palm facing away from you. Then, take the hand signal away and quickly offer your dog treats before they move. 

Moreover, to release them from the command, use a verbal cue like “release” or “okay.” Make sure the dog gets up and moves when you release them. 

Step 3: Gradually Increasing Duration

At this point, you can start increasing the duration. Repeat the procedure 5 to 6 times, gradually increasing the duration between giving the command to stay and releasing. Increase the duration of “staying” a few seconds at a time. 

When you see your dog stay for 10 seconds or more, you can start offering them treats multiple times during the stay. This way, you can keep your dog in a stay position for an extended period. Also, while giving treats, repeat the “stay” command and hand signal to let them know the exercise has not ended yet. 

Step 4: Adding Distance and Distractions

When your dog begins to stay for at least 30 seconds, you can start adding distance and distractions to the “stay” command. Every time you ask your dog to stay, move a step back from them and then come back to you, reward your dog with a treat. According to the American Kennel Club, you may have to decrease the duration of their stay when adding distance and then build back up because the dog may start moving as soon as you take a step away. 

Now, you can also start adding distractions. Start with little distractions, such as clapping your hands, and then move on to larger distractions, like toys or throwing a ball.

Common Problems and Tips

When you train a dog in any skill, several common issues arise that you must address and deal with for success. Insufficient motivation is one of the reasons why dogs show resistance to learning. So, offer your dog the treats that are indeed valuable to them and the ones they will work for.   

Moreover, to successfully train your dog to "stay,” you need to be consistent in the routine to practice. Keep the sessions short and end them on a positive note. This way, your dog will associate the stay command with pleasing experiences. Place your dog on a leash during the training sessions until they show a reliable stay to ensure safety and control.


Some dogs may be good at “staying” simply because they are older or have less energy or motivation. The key to success is to progress gradually. Teaching your dog to “stay” on command will help you communicate better and keep them safe and you more in control. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How to train dogs?

You can train dogs by rewarding them with plenty of praise and a handful of treats. Training a dog also requires consistency and patience. 

How to train a puppy to stay? 

You need to ask your puppy to “sit,” hold your hand out in front of them, palm facing them and say the cue word “stay.” When they obey, offer them plenty of praise and treats. Continue this procedure until your dog understands what they are supposed to do.

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