The Water Bowl
Breed & Health Resources

Training: How to Teach Your Dog To Stay

By Kara Bednarik

dog learning stay command

Teaching “Stay”

The definition of stay is that when told to stay, your dog should remain in that position until you tell them it’s okay for them to move. Of course, this means you cannot tell them stay and then forget about them.

To teach your dog how to stay, have a leash on them just in case they decide to dash away.


1. Use the down queue to get them to lie down and praise them when they do

2. Tell them to “stay,” but remain with them

3. After a few seconds, praise them if they didn’t move

4. Say “up,” and praise them again

Repeat a couple more times, take a break, and come back to do it again a bit later.

Take Training Slowly

Don’t be in a hurry to walk away from your dog or have them stay for long periods of time. At the beginning of this training – which requires lots of self-control of your dog – your emphasis should be on setting them up to succeed. That means remaining close to them and helping them hold still for just a few seconds at a time.

Gradually, over several weeks, you can increase the time you ask them to stay and the distance you walk away from them. Remember to only increase one thing at a time. One week during your training sessions you can increase the distance you move away from them, and the next week you can increase the time.

If your dog is having a hard time holding still, remain with them. Place one hand on their shoulder as they lie down and give them reassurance, showing them you’re supporting their efforts every step of the way.

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