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Keep your body as straight as you can, and don’t bend over your dog. Before you step away from your dog, make sure that your right hand is at your side again.

If you’ve been practicing for a while and your dog knows the stay command, you can make your voice sharp, like a reprimand, when she’s moving out of position. But don’t punish: by the time you catch up with your dog, she’s already broken the stay, and she’ll associate the punishment with what she was doing at the moment you punished her–allowing you to catch her–not with breaking the stay. That’s not what you want.

Same thing as step two, stand on the leash at first, now toss the reward a bit further. Now you are going to have to walk to retrieve the object.

Set Up: Have your dog on a leash and collar. Have something that motivates the dog ready to serve as both your distraction and reward like a handful of treats he loves. You can ask him to “sit” or “lay down” before adding the new command “stay”.

For those of you choose to use the stay command - read on.

This version of How to Train a Dog to Stay was reviewed by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS on July 11, 2015.

What does stay mean? Stay means DO NOT MOVE. Your dog will not move when he understand what stay means.

What is Proofing? Proofing is practicing 'stay' under many different circumstances. Here are some things you can try:

So first, you will teach your dog to 'stay' from the sitting position. Your dog will sit and not move until you tell him it's OK to move.

Here's another good article which shows you how to shape a reliable stay behavior - Stay command using clicker training methods

Keep praising him and bring the reward back. You can release him and give him the reward. Encouragement is the key. He should enjoy learning to stay put because it is interactive and rewarding. Repeat this several times (maybe for a few days adding more and more time to the length of the “stay” command). If you are consistent he will be waiting to hear you release him by saying “OK” rather than trying to rush to get the reward.

Then you begin the process again from the start, this time maybe hold your praise and treat off for 3 or 4 seconds. Just take it slowly and if your dog breaks out of the stay at any time before you have given him the release command, simply say "aah-aah"! Don't give the treat, but simply start the process again.

2. The next step is to add a verbal command and hand signal to step 1. It goes like this - once again stand directly in front of your dog and place him in the position you would like him to stay in. Now as soon as he is in the desired position say "stay" and at the same time hold your hand out in front of you, with your palm facing out towards your dog's nose (like a stop sign motion).

The simple act of holding still is a huge challenge for some dogs, especially wriggly young pups. To teach a rock-solid stay, start small and make it easy for your dog to get it right. For an energetic young puppy, that may mean half-second stays. That’s fine–from half a second you can build to one second, then two, and on from there. Many short, successful stays are better for your dog’s obedience skills than a long stay that ends with wandering dog and a frustrated owner.

*HINT: Your body language can cause your dog to break his position because many dogs are taught to follow us when we turn our shoulders. Start by facing your dog with your hand outstretched and a flat palm facing him while you back up to retrieve the reward, calmly repeating “good stay”.

Go from Training A Dog To Stayto Dog Training Techniques home page.

If you're considering training your puppy or older dog yourself at home, please consider following this complete dog training package as your guide.

Big distractions should have big rewards. The key to proofing is adding the 3 D’s. Distance, Duration and Distractions. Once a dog thinks “stay” is a fun and rewarding command you can start to use this important command often. Practice a few minutes every day in a new location and he will excel quickly.

Hold your hand as close to the dog’s collar as you comfortably can. The farther away from the dog’s collar you hold your hand, the less control you have.

Once your dog has the hang of the “stay” command, you can slowly make it more challenging. Stand a foot away from your dog when you ask her to stay, then two feet away, and keep increasing the distance. Ask her to stay when your back is turned; when there’s another person or dog in the distance, then fairly close by, then right next to your dog; when you’re bouncing a ball; when there’s kibble scattered around her; and so on.

“Stay” is a command that tells your dog to remain stationary where you place them until they are released. This can be used in correlation with a movement command such as “sit” or “down” to help the dog know what is expected of them.

The secret to teaching your dog to 'stay' is to not move through the stages too fast. Build the cue up gradually, lengthening the time and distance of the stay. This cue teaches your dog impulse control skills and can be used in a variety of situations, such as the front door, before crossing a road, and when people come to your home.

If your dog is thinking about moving or actually tries to move, take a step toward your dog with your right foot and, with your right hand, snap the leash straight up to a point directly above his head. Bring your right foot and right hand back to their original positions without repeating the “Stay” command. Count to 30 and pivot back to your dog’s right side. Count to five, praise, and release.

It's now time to add some other variables and build upon it. Many trainers label this proofing stage as the three D's - Duration, Distance and Distractions. Up until now (in steps 1 and 2) you have been working in a familiar environment free from distractions and you've just been standing right in front of your dog. Let's mix it up a little, adding one new variable at a time.

After you and your dog have mastered the sit and down commands, the logical extension on them is training your dog to stay.

What Not to Do: This is a hard cue to teach so do not go too far too fast. Be really patient and make sure you build up the time first before increasing your distance.

You may practice your 'stays' from a down or standing position by following the same steps.

Stand up and hold the leash close to you. Say “stay” and toss the reward about two feet away. Wait for your dog to be calm and still. Then reach for the reward to bring it back to him (some dogs will pull and get excited when you touch the reward, be prepared to wait again or drop the reward and wait longer). When the dog is calm and staying patiently, release him by saying “OK” and reward.

TIP! • If your dog makes a mistake and moves...Great! Now you have the chance to show him that stay means: don't move. • Just smile to yourself for the opportunity and return him to the same position. Say 'stay'. This time, stand closer to your dog and wait just a few seconds. Then be sure to praise your smart dog while he is in the stay position. Happy training!

The Stay command is strongly linked with the Sit command — you rarely see a dog standing up and staying. So, a more accurate name for this command is the Sit and Stay command. Make sure your dog already knows to sit on command. If she does, teaching her to stay should go pretty quickly.

How to teach a dog to stay

After your dog understands how to sit and stay, you can try lie down.This might be days or weeks later. Follow the same instructions as above, but first have your dog lie down. Your dog probably won't understand right away. Go slowly, like he has never heard the word 'stay' before.

Really when you think about it your sit and down commands aren't much value if your dog merely gets into those positions and then bounces back up straight away.

Return to your dog’s side, release tension, praise him, and release your dog, taking several steps forward.

Now after waiting a second or two praise and reward your dog for staying in this position (sit-stay or down-stay etc.). As was the case in step 1 you can now repeat this process over and over, gradually increasing the time between your "stay" command and your praise and treat. What you are doing is building an association in your dog's mind between your verbal "stay" command and the act of staying in the one spot.

Note: When training a dog to stay do not keep your dog in a sit-stay for more than 2 or 3 minutes. If you need your dog to stay for longer periods use the down-stay.

Neatly fold your leash accordion-style into your left hand, and place it against your waist where a belt buckle would be, allowing one foot of slack.

Troubleshooting: Problem: My dog breaks her stay when he is excited.

3. You've now got the stay command sorted - in it's most basic form anyway.

Add a new challenge only if your dog is responding reliably. If your dog ever breaks a stay, take away a challenge–make the stay shorter, remove the distractions, or stand closer to her–and try again.