Teach your dog to “stay”

This is the 7th in a series of posts on training your chihuahua. So far we have tackled the do’s and don’s when training. What you may be doing to set yourself and your Chi up for failure, and then we got into basic obedience with training to “sit” and “down”.

three chihuahuas in line with backs t camera in a perfect "sit" position
Pebbles, Remedy Jane, and Chico (left to right) in a “stay” position, politely waiting to greet guests at the door.

It is important to know how to train your dog to stay because it may very well save his or her life. Knowing how to train your dog to stay is also necessary for many other reasons. For example, if your dog has food aggression or to train them manners when you have guests at the door.

How to Train Your Dog to Stay

When training, always put your dog on a leash. That gives you control.

  1. By now, if you are following these training posts, your dog should “sit” and “down” every time you give the command. So, to begin, ask your dog to “sit” or “down”. This way, he is less likely to move from these positions.
  2. Stand in front of your dog, looking him directly in the eye and in a firm voice say “stay”, while holding your hand up and flat, almost touching his nose.
    blue merle chihuahua in down position showing hand signal
    Training Remedy Jane to “stay” using hand signal
  3. Move back a little way while continuing to hold eye contact. Then return to him. Praise him with “good”, or “good stay” and give him a treat. Be sure to give him the treat only if and while he is in a stay position (either sitting or lying down.
  4. If he moves from his “stay”, gently, but firmly return him to that position, and try again.
  5. Gradually increase the amount of time you ask him to “stay”, and the distance between you and him, as well.
  6. If he breaks his “stay”, return him to the place he was, and try again, for the same amount of time.

Keep each session at no more than 5 or 10 minutes at a time.


“Stay” means don’t move a muscle until I say “okay”. “Wait” is less formal and means, stay in that vicinity for a short time. Example: “Wait while I get my things out of the car before you jump down”.


What If?

My dog keeps getting up.

Do not use any communication except your one verbal and hand command. Talking while training only confuses your dog. “Stay” and “good stay” are all you should say.

Your tone and your body language will make a big difference in your success. Be firm and be consistent. Do NOT ever yell at your dog. If you find yourself getting frustrated, stop the session and try again later.









Up Next: Part VIII, How to Teach Your Dog to “Leave It”


Did you miss:

Part I, Introduction to Training

Part II, Your Job As a Trainer

Part III, The #1 Reason People Fail When Training Their Dog

Part IV, The Mechanics of Training

Part V, How to Housebreak a Chihuahua (or any dog)

Part VI, How to Train Your Chihuahua To Sit


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