Stay: How To Get Your Shiba Inu To Stay Still (With Tips)


Getting my high-energy Shiba Inu, Faith, to stay still for more than a moment felt impossible. But with a bit of research and trial-and-error, I was able to get her to calm down and listen to me. Here is what I learned.

Stay is a difficult command for every Shiba Inu to learn. A distraction-free environment, their favorite reward, time, patience, and daily practice are the keys you need to set up their success. Slowly build up time than distance as they get the hang of it. Once you are confident, add distractions.

Unfortunately, there is no magic or miracle way to get your pet to instantly know and follow a command, especially stay with this high-energy breed. But it is possible, here are all the steps I took, along with some tips to help you out along the way.

Stay is an important command for several different reasons, but just because it’s important doesn’t mean you should start there first.

Each individual Shiba Inu will learn different things at their own pace and in their own way. Figuring out what motivates your pet and how they like to learn can make this process significantly easier. Some of the most common doggy motivators are:

  • Food / treats
  • Verbal praise
  • A specific toy / playtime

The best time to learn which type of reward your Shiba prefers is while they are learning their first and most important commands, “sit” and “break”. Both training and socialization should be done at a young age, it helps set both of you up for success and mentally stimulates them, which is one of the keys to a happy Shiba.

A sitting position is the best way to start teaching your pup the “stay” command, and “break” what should be used so they know they are done. “Break” is

“Break” tells your dog they are done doing what you asked them to do and they are now free to get up and go. A release command is critical to letting your Shiba Inu know they have “stayed” long enough.

Once you have the “sit” and “break” commands down, preparing for “stay” is pretty easy and straightforward. All you need is a collar and your dog’s leash.


Non-retractable ones work great, but if you don’t have one lock your retractable leash with a couple of feet of loose cord.


These will be used to help manage and anchor your Shiba Inu in place, let’s go over what I mean by that.

The Slow And Steady “Stay” Process

Just like the sit command, this will take some time and effort. Patience, consistency, and not getting frustrated are crucial to helping your dog learn this seemingly impossible command.

An open and distraction-free environment is a fantastic way to set your pup up for success. Nobody else besides you, no TV or music playing, and no toys for them to focus on.

Here is a list of simple steps I and many others have used to start teaching our Shiba’s the stay command:
1) Have your Pups rewards ready: Food, treats, verbal praise, …
2) Make sure their collar is on and their leash is hooked to it. – This is so they don’t wander off.
3) Tell your Shiba Inu to “sit”, wait for them to sit, say “stay” and take a single step backward while looking at them.
4) Wait 1 second, take a step forward towards them, give them their rewards, and tell them “break”.
5) Give them a moment to settle down and repeat steps 3-4 adding a second each time up to 10 seconds.

If your pet does any of the following say “no”, in a low yet firm tone, and restart at step 3:

  • Get up
  • Rollover
  • Lay down

Once your pet has that down you are ready to move on to phase 2.


Some Shibas will get it in the first training session while others may take a few, take it slow, and go at their pace.


Phase 1 was getting them to understand what you want them to do when you give them the “stay” command. Phase 2 builds on top of that by adding distance, this is where the leash comes in handy.

You want to repeat the first 2 steps from phase 1.
1)
Have your Pups rewards ready: Food, treats, verbal praise, …
2) Make sure their collar is on and their leash is hooked to it. – This is so they do wander off.

But this time instead of only taking 1 step backward you want to take 2.
3)
Tell your Shiba Inu to “sit”, wait for them to sit, say “stay” and take 2 steps backward while looking at them.

Since your Shiba Inu is starting to get the hang of “stay” we’re going to start and stick with 5-second intervals.
4)
Wait 5 seconds, walk back towards them, give them their rewards, and tell them “break”.

This time, since we’re working on distance, instead of adding time we will be adding steps during each rep.
5)
Give them a moment to calm settle down and repeat steps 3-4 adding a step each time. Up to your leashes maximum comfortable length. Meaning there is slack and you aren’t pulling your pup around by the neck.


It’s common for your pet to want to follow you or whine while adding distance, stay calm and be patient. If they get up calmly tell them “no”, and restart.


Once you think your pet is starting to get the hang of things you will want to start “proofing” your training. Let me explain.

How To Proof Your Training

Putting what you and your pet learned to the test is the most important step, this is where the rubber meets the road for your stay training results.

Dogs have what’s called an “associated” memory. That means they tie actions to reactions in that moment on the spot.

For example:

Think of it as “short-term” memory. You have to catch them right before or during the act. This isn’t just important for correcting bad behavior but also for learning new ones and commands.

Proofing, or “verifying”, your Shiba’s training means you are making sure they understand and will act on the “stay” command, and any other command you give them, no matter where you guys are and regardless of what’s going on.

The best way to do this is to change your training location and start adding distractions. Personally, I like to start with changing locations, I’ll explain why in my examples.

There is a chance, due to dog’s associated memory, your pet may tie “staying” to the room you guys train in. So spice things up once they start to get the basics down.

  • Try other rooms
  • Try it on walks
  • Try it in the front or back yard

Our goal here is to make sure they actually understand what you want them to do.

Once you are reasonably confident they will “stay” when asked, start adding distractions.

  • Other people in the room while training
  • Other pets in the room
  • Toys on the floor
  • TV on or music playing
  • Outside with other people jogging or walking their pets

This is a great way to make sure your Shiba will pay attention to you and what you’re saying instead of losing focus and running off without their release command.

Once you have proven your Shiba Inu understands the stay command and not only follows it consistently, but you yourself are confident they will stay when asked. You can step your training up a notch.

Expanding On The “Stay” Command

Getting your dog to stay in place is great when you are near them, but it almost always falls apart when you aren’t looking at them or leave the room.

Phase 3 – The circle method.

The goal here is to be able to walk around your pet without them getting up, and the steps are similar to phase 2. The only difference is you are slowly walking around them while adding distance instead of just adding distance between you and your pup.

Here are the steps and what I mean by that:

Steps 1 and 2 are the same ones from phases 1 and 2.
1)
Have your Shiba’s rewards ready: Food, treats, verbal praise, …
2) Make sure their collar is on and their leash is hooked to it. – This is so they don’t wander off.

Step 3 is where things start to change.
3) Tell your Shiba Inu to “sit”, wait for them to sit, say “stay” and take 2 steps backward while looking at them, then start to walk around them.
We’re adding an extra variable here, walking around them, with the goal of them still staying seated.

If they get up in any way you want to tell them “no”, in a low and firm tone, and restart at step 3. Just like the previous phases.

Once you are able to walk full circle around your Shiba Inu without them getting up give them a reward and tell them “break”.
4) Complete your loop around them, walk back towards them, give them their rewards, and tell them “break”.

Add another step between you and your dog, then go for another loop around them. Repeat until you reach your leashes maximum comfortable distance.
5) Give them a moment to calm settle down and repeat steps 3-4 adding a step’s worth of distance each time. Up to your leashes maximum comfortable length.

Once you are confident your Shiba with stay while you walk around them, proof your training. Follow the same section as listed above.

Our 4th and final phase of stay training is leaving the room.

One of the last things you can do to expand upon the “stay” command is to remove line-of-sight from both you and your dog.

The step-by-step process is the same as the other phases, except you leave the room instead of just adding distance or walking around them. You also want to “proof” or verify this once you are confident they will stay when asked.

Step 1 is the same as phases 1-3 but step 2 for the others doesn’t apply here
1)
Have your Shiba’s rewards ready: Food, treats, verbal praise, …

This is where we start to “drift” out of the room.
2)
Tell your Shiba Inu to “sit”, wait for them to sit, say “stay” and walk halfway to your room’s exit door (pick one to stick with if there are multiple).

Here we are going to stick with a fixed 5-second interval.
3)
Wait for 5 seconds, walk back towards them, give them their rewards, and tell them “break”.

This is where we ramp up the distance and difficulty.
4) Give them a moment to calm settle down and repeat steps 2-3. Start with halfway to the doorway, in the doorway, just past the doorway, and lastly around the corner where they can’t see you.


You only want to proof this while indoors, you DO NOT want to let go of a Shiba Inu’s leash while outside. They have a high prey drive and will run off once something catches their attention.


Unfortunately, no amount of sit or stay training will let you go off-leash with this breed. There will always be a risk of them running off, so it’s not recommended to try off-lease training of any kind.

Colby Adkins

I am a proud Shiba Inu owner who is just looking to share any tips, tricks, or advice I have to help others.

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