White and brown puppy stay
© Pixabay

How to teach a puppy to stay

By Dawn Parrish Content Writer

Updated on the

It’s very difficult for a young, wriggly puppy to hold still in one place. To teach a puppy to stay is a fundamental skill that will help your pup all through his life.

Of course, all puppies love to explore, it’s a fact when owning a young dog. However, in some circumstances, the “stay” command works wonders. You can ask your pup to sit still before mealtimes and even before crossing a busy road. You might find it easier to teach your puppy several shorter stay periods at first rather than aiming for a rock-solid attempt.

What supplies do you need to teach a puppy to stay in one place?

Training a puppy doesn’t need much more than a secure, quiet location and your pet of course. An indoor spot is best for your initial training sessions. You will also need:

  • A collar and lead.
  • Delicious puppy treats
  • A clicker if you are using this method of training. If not, choose a word, perhaps “Yes” that will link your pup’s desired behaviour to the treat.

How to teach a puppy to stay – Step by Step routine

No 1. Begin in a location that your dog has previously visited and without too many distractions. First of all, keep your pup’s focus on you. Do this by giving him your full concentration, looking into his eyes and standing immediately in front of him.

No 2. Now hold out a treat to your pup and ask that he lies down or sits down.

No 3. Praise your pup if he manages to stay in this position for one or two seconds. Now reward with a treat.

No 4. Next repeat step No 3 but this time have your dog keep the stay position for a little longer than previously. Once again, reward with a treat.

No 5. By this time, your pup is probably responding positively. It’s now time to add in your verbal cue word. First of all, ask your pup to lie down or sit and add your comment “stay”. As you do so, hold your hand facing towards your dog’s nose as you have earlier taught him to “stop”.

Praise and reward your puppy © Pixabay

Expectations are for him to hold this halt and stay stance for one or two seconds. If it’s a success, now reward and praise your puppy. You can try this sequence again but gradually increase the length of each stay period.

If things don’t go as planned

Don’t despair if it takes a while for your puppy to pick up this new task immediately. Maybe you have progressed too quickly to the “stay” sequence. Above all, remain calm and go through the steps again, asking him to stay for a shorter period. Likewise, gradually phase out the treat after every successful task. You really want him to understand that a reward isn’t given every time you ask him to perform.

How to teach a puppy to stay using the Leash method

Teach your puppy to stay using the leash method© Pixabay

In contrast to the previous method, you can also teach your puppy to stay to your command using his lead as a training tool.

Step 1.  First of all, connect the leash to his collar and place him on your left side, with a “sit” command. Keep the leash quite slack in your hold. To teach this method have ready a word to use for your command, such as “stay” and then a word to release your pup using “good”.

Step 2. Facing your pup and holding your hand up in front of his face, give the command “stay”. Next, still holding the lead loosely in your hand, walk a few steps backwards. Pause for a couple of seconds.

Step 3. If he remains in the same place, return to the spot you were and place one of your feet onto the lead. Ensure that the lead is quite lose and not pulling at the puppy. Similarly, you don’t want him to be able to move around. Next say your release word “good” and of course, reward and praise your pup for his good staying power.

Step 4. If it seems like he isn’t going to stay, don’t speak to the pup but return to your stance with him at your left-hand side. Once again, go through the routine, first of all asking him to “sit” placing your hand in front of his nose. Now step away as you did for Step 2. Above all, remain patient as you repeat these attempts. Don’t worry, your puppy will soon be successful and able to stay in his position.

Teaching your puppy to hold the “stay” position isn’t an easy task. It takes consistency and lots of patience. Because your puppy has only a very short attention limit it’s certainly better to break up the training schedule. Maybe introduce several brief lessons spaced during the day. Introducing the foundation to a solid training experience makes living with your puppy a whole lot more enjoyable.

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