How to Teach a Dog to Stay

How to Teach a Dog to Stay

The best way to teach a dog how to stay is to have the dog sit or lay and begin to take steps away from the dog. When the dog stays in one place throw the dog a treat.

Yes, I always say you don’t need to use treats to train dogs, but this is an exception. Treats make this command easy to train and it makes perfect sense. Using one hand as a stop sign from a distance to teach a dog to stay.

Once the dog starts to catch on you can use larger distances but still come back and throw the treat from a distance. I don’t like to use too much verbal praise because this is one of those commands you want the dog really to calm.

Starting with shorter distances like a few steps at a time and adding as the dog catches on.

Verbal Command

You don’t have to worry about your dog knowing the difference between stay and lay commands. There are different areas where the dog will be fully aware of what you are trying to ask them.

There is no need to animate your voice unless you would like to do so. You just need to make sure you are calm, and the dog is calm throughout the training session.

Body Language to Teach Dog to Stay

Your body can be an effective communication tool. Extending the palm like a stop sign makes the dog stop and stay in the same spot. Once you get them back in a waiting position you can move on with creating more distance or throwing a snack.


If the dog is showing too much excitement, then this is something you need to tackle head on. Take the dog on a run with a bike or any wheels you prefer. Get the dog tired and then start this exercise.

Try to get them too tired because they will begin to lay which is good if you want to train that command as well. It is impossible to train a dog that is showing an inability to sit still.

And don’t forget you may need to start with giving them an exercise program for a week or two. At some point you will notice the energy levels dip, and this will set them up for success.

Repetition to Teach Dog to Stay

Doing the same task repeatedly is what you need to do when training any command. Using this to eat, come out the crate, go to the bathroom, or play in the dog park.

Before they get the do these activities you can make them stay. This goes for any command like sitting, staying, or laying. Perfect way to train the dog without treats or praise with strong reaction.


As we went over before you need to make sure you are using treats during this command. Teach a dog to stay in one spot using a real piece of meat. Steak, chicken, or beef can work and cut them into little pieces.

When dogs get this type of treat even when they are not food driven, they will want to get this treat. Anything from popular stores like dog treats, biscuits, or meat snacks I never feed the dog. Only real meat pieces and it works every time. I have lower success rates with so called dog snacks.


Using praise while you teach a dog to stay can happen in a certain way. Don’t praise and excite the dog. Petting the dog without speaking is the best-case scenario.

Best time to use this type of affection is at the end of the session. That way you did all the training without distraction and you still gave them the same love at the end.

The wrong way to approach the situation is to get the dog’s tail wagging, jumping, and not listening. Calm, slow moving, and relaxation is the effect you want to give when praising.

Different Scenes

You want to teach a dog to stay in the living room, dining room, bathroom, crate, outside, inside, and everywhere you can think of. Outdoors areas like at a park, dog park, front yard, front door and other areas.

Sometimes this will create a fresh environment for you and the dog with new challenges. Additional challenges will help you coach the dog into doing these same commands regardless of the environment.

Additional Resources