3f. Stay Beginnings (1:42)


Teaching your dog to stay in one place has many benefits. It focuses on self-control and will encourage dogs to think and process versus react in situations. Teaching stay can promote calmness and relaxation in your dog’s day.

Suggestions on when stay can be used:

  • To help prevent your dog bolting out an open door.
  • Keep your dog from jumping out of the car.
  • Prevent jumping on people.
  • Crossing the street.

A few words of caution…

  • Never leave your dog in a stay if you cannot release the cue.
  • When using Stay as a cue, you should ALWAYS go back to your dog and release him or her. Do not call your dog out of a Stay… this could lead to poor outcomes if your dog is used to running out of a stay or a miscue from a distance (picture a dog running across a busy street here).

Teaching Stay Beginnings:

Step 1– Choose a behavior, whether it is a sit or a down, that is easiest for your dog. Some dogs are more comfortable in a sit and some are more comfortable in a down. Know your dog. This is the first piece to successful stay.

Step 2– Briefly place your right hand in front of your dog’s face with the palm open and toward him.

Step 3– Count to one, return to your dog’s side, praise him and click and treat. Release and try again!

Step 4– Reset your dog. Give your hand signal/cue and count for 3 seconds. Release with your cue by throwing a treat out.

Step 5– Repeat steps- Gradually increase the amount of time you require him or her to hold the position.

Step 6– Remember to bounce between hard and easy amounts of time to keep your dog engaged and end your training on a good note.

Adding the Cue:

Step 1– Add the Cue “Stay” and follow step 2… this is now adding a verbal cue to a hand cue

Adding the Cue:

Trainer Tip:

  • Don’t forget to release your dog from stay by tossing a treat to end the behavior.
  • Take baby steps back or rock back rather than giant steps that will encourage your dog to follow you.
  • When first training stay, don’t step away and hang out there with a big pause. We are at the beginning steps of stay. Teaching your dog to remain there when you are at a distance is the next step. Build foundation behaviors first and don’t make it harder than it needs to be on your pup.

Stay Challenge:

Step 1– Ask your dog to sit and stay.

Step 2-Walk all the way around your dog and click and treat as you return to front.

Step 3– If your dog gets up, reset the stay and only go part way around and go back to the front and treat… continue adding steps around like following a clock face.

Trainer Tip:

Don’t try to walk all the way around in one try… you are actually teaching your dog to move out of place. Practice in chunks… so that you set your dog up for success. Try walking a quarter of the way and move back to start. Reward. Then try again with a little bit more around your dog. Remember to STOP before you have pushed your dog too far and he or she gets up!