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5 Quick and Easy Steps to Train Your Dog to Stay

5 Quick and Easy Steps to Train Your Dog to Stay

The "stay" command is one of the most basic commands you can teach your dog. It is pretty helpful to have in your bag of tricks as it helps you maintain control of your pet in many situations.

When you tell your dog to "stay," you're instructing them to sit still until you release them. When your dog is too hyper for a situation, this command can be used to teach positive obedience.

There are many ways to teach a dog to stay. The key to making it an effective command is showing your dog that staying put is more rewarding than breaking a position.

The simplest technique in teaching a dog any command is using treats. Quite simply, you give the verbal cue. If your dog obeys, they get a treat. Other than treats, verbal praise and playtime are good forms of reward. These are either continuously provided while the dog is holding the "stay" command or when you return to release them.

The Biggest Mistake When Teaching the “Stay” Command

Do you have a difficult time training your dog to stay? You may be making a crucial mistake. What is the biggest mistake dog owners make when teaching the stay command? Breaking the position rather than retaining it.

In an ideal training environment, you will tell your dog to stay, and they will hold the position. If you ask them to stay, walk away, and then call them to you, you are NOT teaching them to hold the position. You are training them to leave it. This makes your training less effective. An intelligent dog will look forward to the release rather than the reward for staying put.

So, what do you need to do to teach the command correctly?

Before Starting Stay Training Infographic

 What You’ll Need to Teach the “Stay” Command Properly

  • A quiet place without distractions
  • High-Value Treats
  • Time (10-30 minutes daily)
  • Patience
  • A reliable e-collar

How to Teach a Dog to Stay in 5 Easy Steps

Tip: Put a leash on your dog. Have a supply of their favorite treats or another motivator available to be your distraction and reward.

Step #1: Clear your environment.

When teaching your dog to stay, especially when starting, it's essential to choose a calm and quiet setting. Any distraction can interrupt your progress, including noises, movements, and smells.

Step #2: Ask your Dog to Sit, then Stay.

Ask your dog to "sit" and praise them for it. Then, ask your dog to "Stay" while giving a distinct hand signal. It is best to hold your hand up with the flat side of the palm facing away from you. Remove the hand signal, then praise your dog immediately before they move.


Step #3: Repeat, but Increase the Delay.

When you ask your dog to sit again, give them a reward after a little delay. Repeat this numerous times, extending the interval between the sit order and the reward by three to five seconds each time. Increase the duration gradually until you reach at least 15 seconds.

Step #4: Reinforce the Stay Command.

When your dog can maintain a sit for at least 15 seconds, you may now start reinforcing the stay command. Make sure to use a clear and confident voice, and always give your dog a treat to reinforce their obedience. Just say, "Sit," wait for them to sit, then say, "Stay." Then move away. After 15 seconds, return and reward them for being able to hold the position.

Step #5: The Release Command

It's time to introduce the release command at this point. Begin by instructing your dog to sit and stay. After 15 seconds, give the release order and throw some training goodies, so your dog must get up to fetch them. A release command could be a hand signal, such as raising your hand, or the words "Okay" or "Go."

Bonus: Challenge your Dog

Once your dog has learned to stay, you can increase the difficulty. For instance, you can increase the space between you and the dog when you give the command or ask it to stay longer. Once your dog understands this cue completely, you may start utilizing it in everyday situations like walks.

Teach a Dog to Stay in 5 Easy Steps Infographic 

My Dog Won’t Stay! What Do I Do?

Dogs, like humans, learn in different phases. Don't be discouraged if your pet doesn't get the command immediately.

If they mess up three times in a row, simplify the situation. Back up one or two steps from where your dog was successful and start over. When ready to make it more difficult, choose a location between your dog's most recent success and failure.

Start blending duration and distance gradually. Do not attempt a 20-minute out-of-sight stay right away. Your dog will probably fall short. Instead, try a two-minute stay while you are ten feet away and assess your dog's performance.

Can I Use an E-Collar to Train My Dog?

An e-collar is an excellent tool in dog training. However, it’s not usually recommended for dogs under 6 months of age.

Before using an e collar to train your dog, they should be capable of maintaining their sitting position even when you step away from them. Your dog should be able to keep the position for at least a few minutes and comprehend both the verbal command and the hand gesture. It would be best if you were sure they understand what you are asking them to do and that they will not relate the "shock" to punishment.

In short, a dog training e-collar is great for positive reinforcement training provided:

  • Your dog has a positive emotional response to the collar.
  • The e-collar is not used for correction but for reinforcement.
  • The e-collar does not cause pain or discomfort to your dog.

How to Train Your Dog to Stay Using an E-Collar

Step #1: Put the E-Collar on Your Dog

Do not turn the remote training collar on just yet. You must ensure your dog gets comfortable wearing the ecollar before you start training. Associate the collar with a fun activity like going on a walk or playtime, so they learn to associate it with something positive.
Check that the collar is on correctly. The prongs or contact points should be touching the dog's skin. If the e-collar is too loose, it won't deliver correction consistently. But if it's too tight, it may cause discomfort and irritation.

Step #2: Find the Right Stim Level

After getting your dog used to the remote trainer, it’s time to find the functional stimulation level that elicits a response.
Start at the lowest stimulation level. Increase the levels slowly until you see a reaction. Some signs pointing to a too-high stim level include:
    • Whimpering
    • Whining
    • Head Jerking or Shaking
    • Licking
    • Yawning
    • Looking Away
    • Tightness Around the Mouth
    • Dilated Pupils
If you see these signs, immediately decrease the stim level and try again.
As the person who knows your pet best, observe their body language.

Step #3: Prepare for Positive Reinforcement

The stimulation from the remote training dog collar will be used to mark the desired behavior. This will be coupled with a reward to make it stick. So, prepare high-value treats for your dog.

Eventually, they will stop needing the dog shock collar and the treats to comply or behave.

Step #4: Introduce the Stay Command

Ask your dog to "sit" in a clear and authoritative tone. Praise them once they comply. Then, ask your dog to "stay" with a hand signal and stim, vibration, or tone before backing away.
Remove the hand signal, then praise your dog immediately before they move.

Step #5: Repeat

Ask your dog to "sit" again. Tap the e-collar remote as you say the command "stay" and again walk away. When your dog stays, praise them, and give them a treat. Call them to you only after they accomplish the task.
Always remember this process: "Tap + Command," "Yes!" and "Treat."

Step #6: Make it Challenging

Once your dog is already familiar with the command, gradually increase the distance until you are out of sight of him, then increase the time.


Thinking of getting a dog e-collar to assist with training your pooch? Here are our top picks for your best e-collar purchase:

1Mini Educator ET-300 by E-Collar Technologies

The Mini Educator ET-300 remote training collar always makes our list of the best e-collar for dogs. And why not? It’s a fantastic remote trainer. It comes in various colors (yellow! Black! Zen!), is expandable to a 2-dog system, and is suitable for dogs big and small.

Mini Educator ET-300 Remote Training Collar

 2. SportDog SD-425X FieldTrainer Remote Training Collar

SportDog collars are perfect complements for hunting dog training. But, they’re also great for basic obedience training. The small and easy-to-use 425X is waterproof and weatherproof, can support up to three dogs with the purchase of additional collars, and has static, tone, and vibration options.

SportDog SD-425X FieldTrainer Remote Training Collar
Dogtra makes great dog shock collars. A Dogtra e-collar can always be counted on to be durable and dependable. The 280C, the big brother to the popular Dogtra 200C, has a range of 1/2 mile. It's ideal for vast properties, hunting, and long-distance training. With 127 levels of static stimulation and a high-performance pager (vibration) option, you'll be sure to find the right working level for your pet. The Dogtra 280C is one of the best e-collar for small dogs.
Dogtra 280C Remote Training Collar
The Dogtra 1900S remote training collar will serve you well if you have a medium to large-sized pet. The 127 levels of adjustable static stimulation in this e-collar are a standout feature. It allows precise control, letting you lower the shock to the lowest functional level at which your dog responds. Having the extra power is helpful for particularly stubborn dogs because it's typical for hardier breeds like the Belgian Malinois to withstand higher stim without blinking an eye. The 1900S comes in three (3) variants - the 1900S, the 1900S Wetlands, and the 1900S Black Edition. There's also a Handsfree version for more discreet control.
Dogtra 1900S Remote Training Collar Black Edition


All dogs should learn the “stay” cue. With patience and much practice, you should have a dog that will remain seated, regardless of the situation. Good luck!


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