Training your dog the stay command

street curb stay command

Training a dog the stay command is not as hard as you may believe. It's just an extended version of a sit, down, or stand command.

As in all training this may take hours, days, or even weeks to have a solid "stay" command. Don't be discouraged if immediate results are not seen.

In order for our dog to succeed we need to teach him obedience with a positive response method.

Simply put, we reward the desired good behavior and do not reward the dog for mistakes.


The stay command allows us to control a dog to remain in a location until we release the “hold” of the command. This comes into play every day, and you’ll find yourself using the “stay” command often.

Once it becomes a reliable command, use it at the door to prevent bolting, before meals, greeting friends, grooming, ect... It also is a step toward the “off” or “leave it” command used to emphasis boundaries.


  • Start with your dog sitting in front of you and take one step backwards. Wait a few seconds and if the dog didn’t move, take a step toward the dog with reward with a treat with praise.

  • If your dog did move, simply start over without the reward. What we want to teach the dog to associate a brief pause and retaining the sit (stay) with good behavior and reward.

  • As you may have guessed, we just need to repeat this process for longer and longer seconds at first then a full minute. We need patience here, and a slow approach to ensure success, one small step at a time.
    If the dog breaks the stay, remember, no rewarding, just start over with a shorter “stay”.

  • After a reliable stay for a minute, introduce a hand signal and vocal command. Raise your hand to waist height so your palm is facing your dog. Your hand should be about 6 inches from your dog's nose. This is the most common hand signal for stay.
    Practice using just a hand or just a vocal command to emphasis each signal.

  • Next, increase the distance and duration of the “stay”, always returning to the dog with a reward and praise for correct performance. Your dog will associate your return with proper obedience conduct, and this will teach the proper mind set for a rock solid “stay”.

Teach Your Dog the Stay Command

What’s next?

Now your dog has a reliable “stay”, it’s time to give the training a challenge. Sit in front of your dog and give the stay command, place a treat on the floor in front of you.

good stay command

This is very enticing indeed so for success, keep the first time period a short one, a few seconds.

Pick up the treat and reward the dog for overcoming every fiber of his being if he didn’t make a move. :)

As before increase the duration of the challenge. Pat yourself on the back and reward the dog for this excellent accomplishment!

Take the “stay command” exercise outside and introduce distractions. A helpful tip is when you first increase the distance outside, remain facing your dog and hold the hand signal.

As before, a positive performance is rewarded on our return, and is a means to free the dog of the command.

Best wishes from dog care basics

Return to dog obedience training from Training your dog the stay command

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