dog stay command

8 Simple Tips to Train A Dog To Stay At Your Command

Our lab puppy, Tango used to create a lot of problems whenever we were doing household works or guest  visiting us. In one particular occasions, Tango was about to dive out of the car before we put his lead on.

We decided to train him stay command to prevent any canine behavior problems at public place.

We initially found “Stay” is difficult exercise to teach, because puppies just hate being still! However, with short, frequent practice sessions, Tango  mastered this command.

8 steps we followed to train our Labrador dog to stay

1. We used to put Tango into the position where we would like him to stay in  using sit command. After 2/3 days effort Tango used to stay in the position for 2/3 seconds. We used pat him, scratch behind the ear once he stayed more than 2 seconds in that position. As soon as we give him the pat, the behavior is over (this is our signal for puppy to release from his stay)  and Tango is used to move away.

2. Next we stated to give him a small treat for a longer stay  ( 4 seconds or more) as a reward. This acts as a positive reinforcement. This step is little difficult. Whenever, Tango used to break out less than 4 second we used to say "aah-aah"! We used to start the process again without the teat. This step is a key for training a dog to stay.

3. As a next step we added a verbal command and hand signal in step 1.

It goes like this - once again we stand directly in front of  Tango and place him in the position we would like him to stay in. Along with saying "stay" command verbally we used to hold our our palm facing out towards our dog's nose (like a stop sign motion).

For successful stay of 2 seconds we used to reward and treat him.

This is important step because here we were building an association in Tango's mind between our verbal "stay" command and the act of staying in the one spot.

4. It took us around 2 weeks to sot out the basic stay command. Next is proofing stage as  we started to follow the three D's - Duration, Distance and Distractions in our training program.

We repeat step 3 for another week but we used to move little bit. We used to increase the duration of stay and we started moving moving 10/12 steps in various directions at random.

In spite of success or failure we used to come to Tango to restart the process. We used to reward his correct behavior every time but no reward  if he gets up to move away. Even we found Tango maintains the stay position if we go out of sight for some seconds.  The key is to make him follow stay command under distractions.

5. Next we start our training session in  our basement garage because there are few distractions such as other people or animals. We used to train him outside after first meal of the day. Gradually we started changing practice session timing and length. We used to check the success of  training of stay command while preparing his favorite dinner.

6. Next we started playing hide & seek game to reinforce the "stay" command.  My son & Tango is to enjoy the game very much.

7. I must admit it took almost 2 months for Tango to completely master the command and it was really very safe for us to take him in public place.

The reason for the delay was we never taught him the Release cue. This is a critical step for success and thanks to Dan from Kingdom of pets for pointing out this point.

8. Later we adopted all these techniques to my neighbor's pet which is a pug. It also took a pug 2 months to master it but we found pugs are very choosy on the place to stay.

Here is a great video on how to teach a dog to stay on command


  • When training a dog to stay do not keep your dog in a sit-stay  position for more than 2 or 3 minutes. If you need your dog to stay for longer periods use the down-stay. If you're considering training your puppy or older dog yourself at home, please consider following Sit Stay Fetch which is a complete dog training package as your guide on "how to teach a dog to stay". This guide is build by organization known as kingdom of pets. You will get best tips on dog obedience training for any breed to build rewarding relationships with your dog. 
  • It is a good idea to take help from a reputed dog trainer if your dog is adult German Shepard or pit bull. This is based on advice I received from my readers.
Share your experience below on how you can teach your dog to stay in one place without getting up

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