Teaching your dog to stay in one place is a wonderful skill that is absolutely necessary for a well mannered canine. When friends and family come to visit or you simply want some peace and quiet time, having your dog stay in a comfortable spot is vital. The key is to make the place inviting and consistent at first and gradually work your way out to the more difficult situations.
Tip for teaching your dog to stay
Begin by showing your dog that they can earn something wonderful. Dogs love to earn your praise, but you may have to start with a super yummy treat at first. Eventually you will work to the point where you will only need to praise your dog for compliance. For now, find a really good treat that can be cut up into tiny bite sized pieces. This will be very important to your success in teaching your dog to stay.
Now that you have a treat that they love, you will use that treat to begin introducing new concepts to the dog. Put a mat or small bed down for your dog to have a comfy place to be. This bedding should be his haven and where he likes to go when he wants comfort and peace. This area will be his spot to go to when you’re teaching your dog to stay as well.
For the first training session of teaching your dog to stay, you should take a treat and let him smell it. When you put it under his nose, make sure he understands that you have something really good that he wants. Then tell your dog to “go lay down” and place the treat on his bed. The dog will immediately go and get the treat. Do this over and over from different areas to create an association between the treats and the spot. Repeat the same cue of “go lay down” each time as well.
Over time, begin to send your dog to the mat with the same commands but let him go to the mat first. You may have to make hand gestures to get the dog to move in that direction, but wait for the dog to go to the mat first. Then give him the treat. If the dog is not responding properly, go back to the original training session and do it for a bit longer.
Once your pup has mastered this step, you can then begin to teach the stay command. They know that they will get something good if they go to their area, but they do not yet know that occasionally they will have to wait for it. Always say “Stay” once you have them on the mat. Start off having them wait for very short periods before reward. Perhaps give it 30 seconds. Mix it up and occasionally make it a longer and shorter. Over time, your dog will get the picture and begin staying for longer periods. If he moves off of his stay area, gently take him by the collar and lead him back to the mat and tell him to stay once again.
Over time your dog will associate the process with your command of stay. When you feel that connection has been made, try it in different places. Perhaps in your backyard or another part of the home. They will know the command and eventually understand that you want them to stay in one place. Provide more and more distractions to challenge your pup and over time they will be totally trained. You will have succeeded in teaching your dog to stay!