Trainer shares tip for getting your dog to remain in the stay position — and it all comes down to body language

Dog sitting on grass in stay position
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Struggling to get your dog to remain in the stay position? If so, you're far from alone. Dogs love to be with their owners and many find it challenging to remain in a stationary position until released - even when rewarded with the best dog treats.

But according to expert dog trainer Adam Spivey, we pet parents may be making several crucial mistakes that send our dogs mixed signals and interrupt their progress when it comes to learning this important skill. 

In a video shared to Instagram, which you can view above, Spivey says there are two common mistakes dog owners make when trying to teach the sit position:

1) Repeating commands: "You don't abuse any other command, you say it once. But with STAY, we repeat it over and over again, even though the dog is doing it," he explains. After verbalizing the command once, Spivey says the stay should be implied. "Down means down until released or given further instructions, the same is true for stay."

2) Using slow and unnatural movements: "Natural movements and confidence is what dogs respond to, they're so in tune with body language that suspicious and slow movements will often have the opposite effect to getting them to stay," explains Spivey. 

"When you want your dog to stay it's because you're moving around, you're doing things, picking up stuff, doing the housework, your backs to the dog," all of which are things Spivey says makes your dog feel calm and comfortable in their stay position. 

Whether you're learning how to crate train a dog, how to stop a dog jumping up or practicing the stay position, teaching your dog any new skill or behavior takes time, patience, and consistency. If you feel your pup would benefit from some extra support, we recommend reaching out to a professional dog trainer. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.