Teaching your dog to stay on command can be useful, and it can keep your furry friend safe. It’s great to have for when guests come to visit, you have dog that likes to try to run out of the door every time it is opened, or if you need to step into a shop real quick. Keep in mind that teaching a dog to stay can be difficult. Staying away from you goes against a dog’s very nature, which is to stay close to its pack.
The first thing you will want to do is have your pet sit, lay down, or stand, whichever you are currently working on. Give the command “stay,” and have your dog hold that position for a few seconds. After holding the position for a few seconds, give your dog a treat, as well as plenty of praise and love. Next, give the command, and have your dog hold the position for 5 seconds, then 10, and so on, until your dog can stay for a few minutes. It is advised that your dog not be made to stay-stand for more than a minute. If you are going to have your dog stay for a long period of time, have them lay down and stay.
Now that your pup knows how to stay with you right next to him/her, try moving away from your dog. This one will take some doing. Dogs naturally want to follow their owner. “Come here” is the first thing we say to a new puppy, usually in a high-pitched baby voice. So, they have been following you around since you first brought them home, now, try to break that and put some distance between you. Each time you successfully walk a few steps away and come back to your dog without them moving, give them a treat. Slowly add more and more steps back until you are able to walk away, with your back turned to them, and walk out of sight.
Next, try adding distractions, such as kids, noise, etc. Every time your dog successfully stays while you are gone, as well as when you come back, give the pup a treat. Remember, if your dog gets up or moves while you are walking back to them, it does not count as “staying,” and they should not be receiving a treat for this behavior. Try practicing in new locations, such as parks, to add even more obstacles (physically and mentally) for your dog to bypass. Soon, your dog will be staying wherever you put him/her with no trouble at all, saving you worry, and keeping your dog safe.