Teach Your Dog to Stay

Having a dog who knows how to 'stay' can be useful in lots of circumstances, like stopping him from bolting out the front door when someone comes to visit! It can be difficult to teach in young puppies who have trouble sitting still at the best of times, but with perseverance and lots of short and sweet training sessions any dog can learn. Before attempting 'stay', teach your dog to lie down on command first.

Step 1

You should begin by finding an environment that is free of distractions and noises so that your dog can focus. Next, place him in the lie down position. Start out small, by just taking one step backwards while holding up your hand out with the palm facing him and saying 'stay' in a low and steady tone. Wait for a second or so before using the clicker, the stepping forwards again and rewarding him with a treat and some praise.

Step 2

Repeat Step 1, slowly increasing both the amount of time you wait before rewarding him as well as the distance you move away. This takes a lot of time and should be done over many short approximately 10 minute sessions so that neither of you get frustrated! Over time you can start to move completely out of view, perhaps making noises like opening and closing doors or cupboards in the house to really test him. If your dog does break free from the 'lie down' position, do not scold or punish him. Simply withhold praise and treats, place him back in position and try again over a shorter distance.

Once your dog has mastered 'stay' you can start getting creative. Why not play a game of hide and seek around the house? Ask your dog to stay and then find a hiding place. Call out for him to come and reward him when he finds you with a treat!

Posted by Dr Teagan Lever

When Teagan's not busy sharing her knowledge of all things pets as Pet Circle's resident vet, she is the human companion of two intense English staffies and a three-legged cat named Steve.

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