Six canine trainer approved tips for building a reliable ‘stay’ and building trust

Man teaching a dog to stay in a field
(Image credit: Getty)

All basic commands like learning how to teach a puppy to sit add real value to you and your dog’s life as it allows effective communication between dogs and their owners, enhances safety, and promotes obedience and good behavior. 

Teaching the 'stay' command is definitely another command to have on your list. Mastering this skill not only ensures safety but also deepens the trust between you and your furry friend. So if you haven’t already taught your dog the ‘stay’ command, grab some of the best dog treats and tune into the canine experts at Noble Wolf Dog Training’s advice.

Certified in both dog training and behavior, the Noble Wolf trainers have shared on Instagram that there are three elements to consider when teaching this all important command to a dog. By focusing on distraction, duration, and distance, or the Three D's, the certified dog trainers outline a systematic approach to teaching 'stay'. 

Watch the video below to see the Noble Dog trainers demonstrate this with a client's dogs and then stick with us to find their six top tips for mastering the 'stay' command.

Six tips for teaching the 'stay' command

  • Use the cue "Stay" only once, avoiding repetitive chanting to maintain clarity and effectiveness. 
  • Reward your dog while they remain in the 'stay' position, reinforcing the desired behavior. 
  • Adopt a "room service" approach by bringing the treats to your dog, reinforcing their position rather than luring them with food. 
  • Employ a release cue such as "break" to indicate the end of the 'stay' command. 
  • Avoid giving treats immediately after releasing your dog from the 'stay' position to maintain a clear distinction between the command and the release. 
  • Vary the difficulty level unpredictably to prevent your dog from anticipating the training becoming increasingly challenging. 

In their instructional Instagram post, the Noble Wolf trainers emphasize the significance of working on each of the Three D's (distraction, duration, and distance) separately before combining them, ensuring a solid foundation for your dog's success. 

By introducing distractions without incorporating distance or duration initially, you create an environment where your dog can focus on building resistance to distractions alone. Once your dog has excelled in each aspect individually, you can gradually combine them, making the training more comprehensive. 

Remember, consistency and patience are key when teaching any command, ensuring trust is there for both of you and effective communication. If you're not seeing success with teaching your dog basic commands, it's a good idea to look into getting some 1:1 help from a professional trainer. Just make sure you check how to spot dog trainer red flags before selecting one.

Jessica Downey
Staff Writer

With over a year of writing for PetsRadar, Jessica is a seasoned pet writer. She joined the team after writing for the sister site, Fit&Well for a year. Growing up with a lively rescue lurcher kindled her love for animal behavior and care. Jessica holds a journalism degree from Cardiff University and has authored articles for renowned publications, including LiveScience, Runner's World, The Evening Express, and Tom's Guide. Throughout her career in journalism she has forged connections with experts in the field, like behaviorists, trainers, and vets. Through her writing, Jessica aims to empower pet owners with accurate information to enhance their furry companions' lives.