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Teaching Stay/Hold

Updated on October 17, 2014


Teaching an animal to stay or hold can be very useful for multiple behaviors as well as being a helpful tool in your day to day home or work life. (Have you ever tried to open the door with arms of groceries and your dog wants to come help?!). In order to start training this behavior or any other always keep in mind to keep your training sessions short and sweet. Try not to work over 10 minutes at a time so you don't overwork or stress the animal. ALWAYS END AT A POSSITVE NOTE.


With in your training session. if you are working on new or more difficult behaviors mix the routine up with behaviors that they already know. This will keep the session less frustrating for them and for you if you feel like you are working in such small increments.

Example behavior list: Paw-Stay-Stay-Sit-Stay-Down-Stay-Leave it

Lets get started

  1. Collect your training tools: Treats, treat holder, and/ or clicker (audible bridge).
  2. Have the animal in front of you. You can have him sit or lie down if you are working with a dog. At some point you want to work with sit/stay, down/stay, or stand/stay. Start with what is easiest for you.
  3. Put your hand in front of their face with out actually touching them, as if you are asking someone to stop. Say stay/hold. (it is commonly used to have your hand palm out fingers down for the "stay" command)
  4. For about 5 seconds as long as the dog stays in that position bridge and treat.
  5. Continue step 4 until you notice the animal is not trying to move after saying the word stay.
  6. Now it is time to lengthen the time you have to dog stay. Try this time 10 seconds. It may not seem like 10 seconds is a long time, but for them it is in the beginning. If you notice 10 seconds was too long, go back to working with 5 seconds and when your ready to move on to the next step move slower with 7 seconds before 10. You always want to make it a positive experience!
  7. Now lets kick it up a notch. The steps before this is should now be a piece of cake. It is time to start moving around the dog and lengthen the time he stays.
  8. Give the hand signal for stay/hold, pivot to one side taking a small step. Tell them "good stay" and treat. Step back in front and hold for a few seconds "bridge and treat", now "release". Once they stop the "stay" and they get up praise and make sure you tell them how great they are!
  9. Continue step 8 over and over until you can pivot left and right with out them budging. Keep in mind they can follow with their head but they can not move their feet. If they keep moving then take smaller steps and have then stay for less amount of time.
  10. Next is to lengthen the time as you slowly pivot around the animal. Keep track of the seconds and the amount of steps you are taking so you can take steps back or move forward.
  11. Now it is time to expand this behavior and with the pivots left and right work on starting to do a full circle. Example: take 3 steps around rather then 2. Walk up to the dog and give him a treat and tell them how great they are doing! When you get to the lengthen of time you are working with "bridge" , "release" and treat. If it is a new goal he passed "jack pot" him and give multiple treats one by one.
  12. Overtime you should be walking away and, coming back, circling, leaving the room etc. Again, Don't forget to start with realistic goals. Some animals learn this very quickly and others take time. So please be patient and keep of the good work!

Happy Training!

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    • Ariel-Cal profile imageAUTHOR

      Evelia Veronica Rivera 

      4 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

      Thank you Dawggie Paws!

    • profile image

      Dawggie Paws 

      4 years ago

      great hub!!!!

    • Ariel-Cal profile imageAUTHOR

      Evelia Veronica Rivera 

      4 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

      Tillsontitan- thanks for reading! If you want to start working behaviors outside I would start in a quiter area with little distractions. ( ex no other dogs, people, cars etc) being outside with smells and birds will be tough on its on so work there and then ad more and more distractions.

    • Ariel-Cal profile imageAUTHOR

      Evelia Veronica Rivera 

      4 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

      Thank you for your vote of confidence dog walker!

    • Ariel-Cal profile imageAUTHOR

      Evelia Veronica Rivera 

      4 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

      Thank you Frank

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Certainly commands that are beneficial to both dog and owner. I can get my dog to sit and stay for five the house. We're having a leash aggression problem right now.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • profile image

      Dog Walker 

      4 years ago

      a very good hub here Ariel-Cal, I walk dogs and boy would i love to teach them this voted up and useful

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      very well written my friend.. teaching to stay and hold I always found most difficult you make it seem easy thank you


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