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Tips for Teaching Your Labrador Puppy to Stay

Your Labrador Retriever puppy may be small now, but it won’t be long before he is a massive adult dog. If your puppy does something you don’t like, you can simply take him up in your arms and carry him away. When your adult Labrador does something wrong, however, you won’t be able to do that. Early socialization and training is important for all dogs, but especially for larger dogs who can sometimes be difficult to control. One of the most important things you need to teach your Labrador puppy while he is young is basic obedience – keep reading to learn how to teach your puppy to sit and stay.

Step-by-Step Guide for Teaching a Puppy to Stay

When teaching your puppy to stay you need to be aware that he may not be able to remain focused on the task at hand for more than a few minutes at a time. When your puppy is still young, limit your training sessions to just 10 or 15 minutes and do them several times a day. One thing you should avoid when training your puppy to stay is teaching him to break the stay. Many dog owners make the mistake of teaching “come” and “stay” at the same time which essentially teaches your dog to break the stay command. To start training your puppy to stay the correct way, use the following training sequence:

  1. Choose a room in the house where your puppy feels comfortable and where there will be limited distractions.
  2. Stand in front of your puppy and wait for him to give you his full attention.
  3. Look your puppy in the eye and hold a treat in one hand – ask your puppy to sit.
  4. Once your puppy sits, wait a second or two before telling him “good boy” then give him the treat.
  5. Repeat the sequence, gradually increasing the length of time you wait before you give your puppy the treat.
  6. Once your puppy is able to wait patiently for a few seconds after you tell him to sit, start working in the “Stay” command.
  7. Ask your puppy to sit then tell him to “Stay” – you can also add a hand signal by holding your hand up, palm facing toward your puppy.
  8. Wait a few seconds and, if your puppy holds his position, tell him “Good boy” and give him the treat.
  9. Repeat the sequence, gradually increasing the length of time you ask your puppy to stay.

Once your Labrador puppy has mastered the basic “Stay” command you can work with him to reinforce his training. One way to do this is to try using the command in different settings. For example, you can take your puppy out into the backyard where there are things to distract him – just be consistent in only issuing praise and reward when he responds appropriately. You can also work with him to respond to the command from longer distances – this will come in handy if your puppy escapes from the yard or if he starts to stray too far on a walk or in the dog park.

Photo credit: Mila Atkovska/Shutterstock