How to Teach Your Dog to Stay

Find out how you can teach your dog to stay in one place without getting up.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
7-minute read
Episode #74

For that reason, you can introduce the “Stay” cue early on--as soon as you yourself have seen your teaching succeed. The confidence you feel because of your success will help you avoid the chant of “Stay … stay … stay” you often hear when someone is worried that their dog’s about to get up.

How Not to Teach Your Dog to Stay

Don’t use the “Stay” cue in situations where complying is impossible or unpleasant for your dog. For instance, avoid telling her to stay as you close the door behind you on your way to work. Nor should you cue her to hold still and then clip her nails, unless you’ve taught her to enjoy nail clipping. Finally, I wouldn’t use stay to keep a dog in a scary or volatile situation.  As for parking her while you take the roast out of the oven, absolutely yes! And let me suggest you make it worth her while by slipping her a crispy bit from the bottom of the pan.

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1. You can either teach “Stay” separately, or make staying put a built-in part of “Sit” or “Down.” Many trainers reasonably point out that there’s hardly ever a time when you ask your dog to sit or down but don’t want her to stay put for a while. On the other hand, the whole point of teaching a stay is that your dog does stay put till you give the cue that means “Feel free to move around now,” so if “Sit” and “Down” always mean “Sit and remain sitting” or “Lie down and remain down,” you have to remember to give your release cue or your well-trained dog will never move from the spot again. I don’t always want to be bothered. For example, if my Juniper has sat to greet a child, I have no problem with him getting up on his own initiative as soon as the kid has moved on to other entertainments.

Dog Staying image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).