How to train a dog to stay

Teaching your dog to 'wait' or 'stay' is a simple behaviour to teach and can be really handy for keeping your dog safe, for example asking your dog to stay in the back of the car while you clip a lead on to their collar.

You will need your dog to be well practiced at lying down on command before moving on to 'stay'.

This is our six step guide on how to teach a dog to stay using a positive reward system.

Teaching your dog to stay in six easy steps:

  1. Julia and Bridie training - stayAsk your dog to lay down.
  2. Give your dog a hand signal - for example a 'stop' sign with the palm of your hand facing your dog.
  3. Instead of giving your dog the treat straight away, wait a few seconds. Say 'stay' and then reward. It's important to reward your dog while they are still lying down and not if they have got back up.
  4. Practice this many times in short but regular sessions, gradually increasing the length of time your dog stays in the down position.
  5. Next, you can start to increase the distance between you and your dog. Start by only taking one step back before giving them the reward and then slowly and gradually increase the distance.
  6. Practice in lots of different places - around the house, in the garden, at a friends and the local park.

Extra tips:

  • It¿s important to gradually extend the time you want your dog to stay. Practice regularly and increase the time by a few seconds each time.
  • Look out for signs that your dog is going to break the 'stay' and reward him before he does so - set him up to win rather than fail.
  • You can also teach your dog to stay in a 'sit' position. Follow the steps above but start by asking your dog to get into a `sit¿ position.


Stay in touch

Sign up to receive our emails today. Get more pet care advice, hints and tips on helping wildlife, our latest news, rehoming success stories and more directly to your inbox.

Sign up to emails today