Teaching Your Dog to Stay

May 9th, 2017

Getting your dog to stay is a challenging, yet super important part of dog ownership. Mastering the “stay” can keep your dog from dangerously running after cars, chasing down things he shouldn’t eat, or keep him from scaring the neighborhood cat.

At Happy Hound, we tie “down” and “stay” into one command so that when your dog is in a down, there’s an implied stay. The stay should last as long as he’s in a down, and only be allowed to move once you release the command. This keeps your dog’s attention on you, where it should be, and lets you maintain the position of “alpha” over your dog. When you’re alpha, your dog can be more relaxed, and get into less trouble.


How to master the down/stay:

  • Start in a quiet space where there are few distractions. Put your dog in a down and reward him with a treat for responding to the down command.
  • Attach a long leash to your dog. We recommend the 50′ leash so you can practice recalls from a distance. Stay within eyesight of your dog.
  • With your dog in a down, start slowly backing up while maintaining eye contact with your dog. As you stay in eye sight, don’t change anything about your demeanor. Stay calm, and walk backwards slowly.
  • When you feel ready, call “come” (or whatever you want your recall word to be) and gently tug on the leash to encourage him to come directly to you.
  • One your dog is at your feet, give him the sit command and then give him a treat.

As you add the sit command after a come, you’ll train your dog over time to come right to you and sit down immediately. This prevents your dog from flying past you, coming 90% of the way to you, or other rebellious behaviors that aren’t a true “come”.

If it’s not working

The moment your dog breaks the stay, say “DOWN!”

You can try again next time making your dog wait for a shorter period of time, or by creating less distance between you and your dog.

Advanced “stay”

Once your dog associates down with stay and is able to maintain a down for as long as you want, you can start adding advanced ninja moves to your training. You can start walking circles around your dog. This trains him to keep his eye and attention on you. Practice the “down” command while turning your back to your dog, or in high distraction environments, like when other dogs are present.

If you need additional training help, contact us for one of our training programs. You can leave your dog with us and pick them up a happy and well trained hound!

Is teaching your dog to stay something you’ve mastered? If so, let us know in the comments below!