Sit-Stay Command | Training to Walk Your Dog

Using the sit-stay command when training to walk your dog requires a calm balance; the most important thing you can do before you pick up a leash to take your dog for a walk is to check yourself over emotionally. If you are upset, angry, frustrated or anxious, your walk will not be fun for either of you. Dogs mirror our state of mind, and anything that is not calm and assertive is counter-productive to training. It is better to put off walking your dog until you have entered a calm and balanced state of mind.

At the very beginning, it is best not to use phrases like, ” Let us go for a walk, Lassie!” or “Want to go for a walk, Rover?” Talking to your dog this way only confuses him and causes excess excitement as he does not understand what you are saying.  When training to walk your dog, the first words used is the basic sit-stay command. Anything else would be confusing to him, futile to what you are trying to achieve. I recommend pairing hand signals with verbal commands; once the behavior is shaped, your dog will obey your hand signals and verbal commands will not be necessary.

sit-stay command

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Making sure your dog understands you

You should approach walking your dog as effortlessly as going out to get a newspaper. It should be nothing out of the ordinary.  You should be feeling calm and slightly assertive. And it is your job to make sure your dog is calm and submissive, sitting calmly and waiting for your commands. Call your dog to you and put the leash on. If he starts to get excited,  repeat the sit-stay command in a calm voice. With the leash in hand, go toward the door. The dog must always be by your side with the leash held loose; the dog can also be slightly behind you. Never allow the dog to move toward the front as that is the alpha position for the leader…you.  Also, preventing this behavior is a safety skill. When your dog starts to get in front of you, STOP immediately. Bring him back into place beside you. When he is calm and sitting, responding to the sit-stay command, move forward once again.


When you are about 10 feet from the door stop, place your dog in a sit-stay position and go to the door. If your dog breaks and starts to move toward the door with you, firmly say “NO!”,”BACK!”. Return him to the spot where he was given the sit-stay command.

Repeat the command again, followed firmly again with the word “STAY.” Don’t yell, but let him know you are serious about it.

Mastering the sit-stay command

The way I look at it is like this. Maybe when you were young, there was a teacher or a person in your family that had such a way about them, that when they told you to do something you just knew they were not joking around. You could tell this by the way you felt inside at the sound of their voice or the look on their face.

Well, try to find that same authority in yourself when training your dog. You need to project powerful and firm energy that shows you are serious and will not settle for anything but what you want. You will never give up until that becomes your reality, not that of your dog.  That is when your dog will start to see that resistance is futile. If he refuses to sit or stay, you need to train with repeated practice, patience, and consistency. Your dog will eventually do what you say because he will know what you want; training is your dog recognizing your commands.

Once you have completely mastered the sit-stay command at a distance of 10 feet, begin the whole process over. Eventually, the process will develop a natural flow toward more advanced training. You want to be able to relax and not have to wrestle with your dog every time you want to leash train him.

Steps in order for the sit-stay command

  • Call your dog to you and have him sit, then stay (provide treats and lots of praise if you are still conditioning this behavior).
  • While the dog is calm and sitting, and you feel in command of the situation, place the leash on our dog.
  • Drop the leash in front of the dog and put your coat, boots, and gloves on. If the dog is calm and sitting, and looking at you, grab the leash and head calmly for the door.
  • Stop 10 feet from the door, tell the dog to sit-stay, then walk to the door like you own it, head up-eyes forward-chest out. Remember,  YOU are the Alpha.
  • When you get to the door, open it wide; stay between the door and your dog (this is where you must master your dog’s urge to bolt out the door).
  • The dog must learn that an open door does not mean bolt outside and play, no matter what he thinks. If he breaks the sit-stay command and tries to do so, block him with your body.
  • Say “No,” grab the leash and disagree with the behavior by firmly saying,  “NO, BACK!”.
  • With the door still wide open, take him back to the original spot, show him what you want by repeatedly giving the sit-stay command until he quits attempting to bolt.

However, if your dog hesitates to sit and continuously keeps attempting to bolt, and you are becoming irritable after several repeats of the training exercise, it is time for both of you to take a breather. Regroup. Repeat.

The non-compliant dog

If your dog is completely non-compliant, physically maneuver his body into the position you want him in. You don’t have to be excessively rough or aggressive. Its the same idea if your two-year-old toddler was heading to the road. You wouldn’t stand there and calmly say,  “Come back, baby, come back.” No, you would run to the baby and reach out, either pick the baby up or grab firmly by the shoulder and turn them around, saying something like, “No you can’t play down there… it is dangerous. Come this way with me and I will show you where it is safe; where I want you to play.”

The toddler would not be able to understand what you are saying, but they would get the message by the tone of your voice and the expression on your face. All of this develops into a subtle energy the child feels as he is being led back home on the tips of his toes.

Do you see how it works? In a similar manner, it is all about your energy and the message it sends to the dog. Calm and serious will win the day. When you have mastered the sit-stay command about ten feet away from the door, and you can open it wide and the dog holds in place, then you are ready to go outside and walk your dog.

I want you to take this next step yourself. If you can see it in your mind, you can make it real, but make sure you have mastered the above approach to getting ready to go out before you actually do. If you can’t control your dog inside your house, you can forget about going outside. If you have difficulty with mastering the sit-stay command or any part of the training, please feel free to send me a message. I will provide the tools and strategies necessary for you to be successful in training your dog.

Bio – Guest Post by Blogger Kevin Davies

Hello. Welcome to

Life can be quite boring without any pets in your life. They can make your day filled with joy, make you smile when you are sad.

My name is Kevin Davies and I am the pet lover guy. The reason why I started this website is that I want to share my experiences which I have. I can’t imagine my life without pets.

I have always had them since I was little. The first one me and my family had was a cat. Her name was Jenny. She was a siamese cat with ocean blue eyes, her head was brown with a little bit of white specks, and the rest of her body was white. She was always nice to me, sat in my lap every day and when I petted her she always purred. I lost Jenny when I was 8 and it made me so sad, actually, it still makes me sad and I have never forgotten about her.

I think my favorite pets are cats and dogs, which might sound a little bit basic but that is just how it is. I love pets so much that I can spend hours watching in youtube different cat and dog videos or look trough twitter where many people post beautiful pictures of puppies and kittens. I like how dogs are really friendly and protect their owner no matter what and I like that cats are independent, they do what they want but at the same time they can be really loving animals.

I live with one cat and dog and it always surprises me how friendly they both are. I love my pets so much, when I am not home I miss them all the time and when I come home I always make sure to play with them and feed them. They are a big part of my life and I am so glad that I have my pets that always are happy to see me come home.

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One Response:

  1. Anna Sakila

    - 23rd May, 17 08:05am

    The Sit – Stay command is one of the most difficult commands to teach a dog. The key is to not expect too much, too soon. Most dogs have tremendous learning ability and we’ll succeed in the end.

    Reply to this comment

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