The stay command is something that should be added after the basic sit and down commands and nice and solid. Your dog should also by now know it’s name and respond to it when called. The stay command is another that is so useful for keeping your dog safe, stopping him from approaching something he shouldn’t like a busy road instance. Use the dog’s lead, attached to his collar, then tell your dog to sit. Praise him and give him a little treat, then hold your hand out, palm facing your dog, and walk backwards one step, saying “stay” in a firm calm voice. If your dog stays where he is then praise him and give him a treat. If he moves, then simply ignore this behavior and start again, taking him back to his starting place and telling him to sit.

Once he has successfully stayed when you take one step back, you can gradually increase this to two three and four steps. Take it slowly and be patient – it can be very confusing for your dog is you hurry things or get frustrated with him. Repetition is the key to success, but make training sessions short and always make sure your dog is happy and having fun. He’ll learn much more quickly that way!

Soon you’ll be able to dispense with the lead, and take ten or twenty steps away from him. You will need to decide on a release command that you use each time to tell the dog he can move. The stay command can be used in many ways – try walking around your dog, or just walking a short distance away, sitting down and making him wait for one, two three then four minutes. Remember to lavishly praise your dog when you release him from the stay command.

Once your dog has successfully learned the sit, down and stay commands, it’s time to start leash training.