So I see you’ve been trying to teach your puppy to stay. Challenging? We thought so. In a puppy’s ideal world, they would stick by your side like a magnet to a fridge. But in reality, there are in fact quite a lot of reasons why knowing how to teach a puppy to stay can end up being just as wonderful. 

In this article, you will learn how to teach a puppy to stay in 9 simple steps and some extra tips for how to make the teaching part even easier if you need it. 

Happy waiting!

Puppy looking at owner

Why is it important to teach your puppy to stay?

To teach your puppy to stay means that they’ll be able to wait at doors, at the zebra crossing, before they jump out of the car, and to hold off the raging enthusiasm when seeing your delivery person drop off those daily parcels.

In a way, if we’re being honest, if you teach your puppy to stay, it’s like showing them how to have inner peace and calm, especially when they’re ready to go out and about. Didn’t mean to get so deep about it, but it’s true.

How to teach your puppy to stay in 9 easy steps

Okay, let’s get to it. When you teach your puppy to stay, you’ll do it in two stages: Duration and Distance. We’ll be covering those, as well as other tips you’ll find useful. Don’t worry, they’re quite straightforward – breaking it down into small steps will help your puppy learn the best.

But you’ll be great! Especially when you’re patient. Like your puppy will be when they manage to stay where they are. 

Stage 1 – Duration 

Duration is all about your puppy learning that staying means not moving for a period of time. You can already tell it won’t be an easy one when you teach your puppy to stay  – after all humans aren’t even that great at sitting still either.

  1. Ask your puppy to sit the way you’ve done so well before.
  2. Let’s hold off giving your marker word (good or yes) right away. 

Instead, do a silent count to 5 in your head before marking and rewarding. See what you did there? Teach your puppy how to stay, and they’ll learn the art of patience as well. 

  1. Smile while you’re counting! 

It will let your puppy know that they are doing it right. It’s also a great opportunity to show off your great teeth.

  1. Have a go at this about 6 times in each session. 

Try to build up the time to 10 seconds after you’ve had a few runs!

Puppy looking up

Stage 2 – Distance

Distance teaches your puppy to stay put while you move away from them. Remember that they love you a whole lot, so this might be a little difficult for them to learn. But we’ve been told you are a fantastic teacher – especially when you teach your puppy how to stay. 

  1. Ask your puppy to sit.
  2. Give your puppy a hand cue that means ‘stay’.

Having your hand flat like a stop sign is quite a good one, and easy to remember.

  1. Now, take a half step backward with one foot.

And immediately return and reward your puppy.

  1. Now, try the same exercise but move to the side. 

You might look like you’re dancing but that’s fine with you, right?

  1. Repeat about 6 times, and then go off for a break! 

You both deserve it. Probably your puppy more than you, not gonna lie.

Useful extra tips for teaching your puppy to stay successfully

  •  If your puppy moves, it’s a good sign that you need to break the exercise down further. You can do this by staying on the same spot, but just slide one foot away and back (again, as if you were line dancing).
  • Practicing this on a non-slip surface is much better. It’s hard not to move if their bums are sliding back! One day you’ll be able to practice this outdoors – but there’s a couple things that need to happen before they go explore the outside world. Want to know more about taking your puppy outside? Read our article to know more.
  • Your puppy will likely start wiggling around if you leave them waiting for too long. But there’s a way you can use this to your advantage – let’s trick them into thinking they’re doing a fabulous job by rewarding them just a few seconds before you think they’ll move. These easy wins are going to help them figure out that staying where they are is actually a clever way of getting treats. 
  • The best time to teach your puppy how to stay is definitely after a good run, a poo or a meal. Then they’ll be ready to learn with their minds open and unpreoccupied that they’ve got something more important to do. Our article gives you a great overview of the ideal puppy routine in a day – including the best times to sneak in training and play time.
Cute Labrador puppy

Ready to teach your puppy how to Stay? Brilliant. After a few rounds of practice and your fantastic teaching skills, we’re sure they’ll be fabulous at it. But if you struggle to get there, remember that our puppy training experts are always happy and ready to help you through the Zigzag app. Click to know more!