So, you’ve decided to adopt a dog. Whether you’ve chosen a new puppy or adopted an older dog from a shelter, it’s important to begin teaching him basic commands from the minute that you bring him home. One of the first commands you’ll teach him is “sit.” After that, you can learn how to train a dog to stay when you tell him to.
No matter what you’re trying to teach your dog, you ca’t expect him to be trained over night. Training your dog to follow commands takes time and patience. You’ll need to be consistent with your training efforts, and give your dog time to absorb the new information.
Before you can train your dog to stay in one place, you need to teach him how to sit and/or lie down. He should also be familiar with his name and respond to a recall command. This way, when you no longer need him to stay, you can call him to come back to you.
If you’re starting from the beginning, check out my video guide on command training. In it, I walk you through how to teach your pet to “sit” and “stay.” I also demonstrate how to teach your pet to come when called and how to train him to lie down on command.
MORE TIPS: Dog Training Guides and Videos
How to Train A Dog to Stay
Remember, your dog must know how to ‘sit’ before you can teach him to ‘stay.’ If your Fido already understands the ‘sit’ command, you can begin building on that knowledge by learning how to train a dog to stay.
The key to this command is pretty simple – you need to begin with duration and work up to distance.
What this means is that you will start by standing directly in front your dog, commanding him to sit, and then saying ‘stay.’ Immediately give him a treat if he keeps his butt on the ground.
As I demonstrate in my video guide above, you don’t want to wait any longer than a few seconds before treating. The trick here is that you want your dog to understand that he’ll get a reward if he keeps his butt on the ground.
Make eye contact with your pet and hold your hand with the palm facing toward your dog. You can see me making this gesture in my video guide. The eye contact and hand gesture will serve a visual cue that your dog will begin to understand means ‘stay.’
After you’ve done this many times at a close distance, you can begin to build duration. Instead of treating directly after you give the command, wait a few seconds. If your dog stays sitting, give him a treat.
Gradually work up from 3-5 seconds to 10 seconds. Then continue to build duration gradually until your dog will sit for at least 30 seconds without standing up.
Now that you’ve built duration, you can begin to add distance. Gradually take steps back from your dog after giving him the ‘stay’ command. If he gets up to follow you, simply walk back to your starting point and start over. If your dog needs some motivation, let him see a treat.
After you back up, treat your dog immediately so that he begins to see that what you’re looking for is him staying seated while you walk away from him. When learning how to train a dog to stay, you’ll find that proper motivation is the key to success.
Continue building duration until you know that your dog has a firm grasp of what it means to ‘stay.’ If you’d like, you can now add some distractions (like other family members or pets) to the mix. You can also try walking with your back toward your dog, so he understands that he needs to stay even when you’re not looking directly at him.