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How to teach a dog to stand on cue

Although you may not use this command as often as “sit” or “stay,” teaching your dog what it means to “stand” can be equally helpful. And while dog standing might not seem like an obvious choice for training, it might be more useful than you realize.

You might use this cue when it’s time for your pup to stand still for grooming or as part of your normal obedience routine; either way, it’s a great command for training beginners, so why not add it to your repertoire? Here’s how to teach a dog to stand:

a jack russell terrier wearing a harness walks alongside a person and looks up at them

Start with “sit”

For your dog to complete his task to stand, he’ll have to start, well, not standing. Sitting will be the easiest transition, so it might be helpful to start by teaching your pup to sit on command. Using a treat will be the easiest method for getting your dog to sit without realizing he’s even learning.

Begin by holding the treat in front of your fur baby’s nose, then move it up and back — above his head. As he looks up, he’ll tilt his head back and naturally sit to keep balance. When he does — awesome! Praise and reward him immediately so he’ll know what he’s doing right.

It’ll take some practice before he masters this new skill, but once he does, you can add in a verbal command. After another week or so, try the command without the treat — but don’t forget to indulge him after he completes the desired behavior!

Reward for standing

Once your pup has mastered “sit,” you can add a challenge by rewarding him for standing. In the same way you taught his first skill, use a treat to entice your dog to sit. Then bring the treat toward you so he’ll have to stand to move toward it. When he does, praise and reward him!

Take some time to repeat this process until your pooch gets the hang of things. Keep your positive reinforcement as immediate as possible to make things clear for your pup. And be patient — he’ll get it!

Add in verbal cues

After your dog has had some time to practice, you can add in the verbal command “stand.” Try to say the word as your dog is standing or immediately after so his brain can make the association between word and action.

Eventually, you’ll be able to graduate to using only the verbal command without guiding his body with a treat. If he doesn’t seem to get it at first, it’s totally OK to take a step back to using the treats for a little while. Of course, using the verbal command shouldn’t mean your pup won’t get a treat — it’ll just come afterward.

a mixed breed husky and shepard dog stands next to a person on a path in the woods
Ksenia Raykova/Shutterstock

Add in hand gestures

Many pet parents like to take advantage of more than one of their dog’s superior senses, and gestures are one way to do that. You can choose nearly any gesture you can think of as long as you stay consistent and use the action at the same time as your verbal cue. Make sure to introduce your gesture only after your pup has mastered the command and the verbal cue, or you might risk confusion!

Just as you can graduate from treats to words once your dog has gotten the hang of things, you can do the same with gestures. Whether you use one or both is completely up to you!

Practice, practice, practice

When all is said and done, practice makes perfect. Whichever step you’re on, it’s completely OK to take your time or even move back a step if you need to. No two dogs are the same, after all! Training is often a trial-and-error experience, but in the end, you and your furry friend will be all the closer for it. Who said training can’t be fun?

Many pups who master the “stand” command will do well to learn “stay” next. These two commands work together seamlessly to keep your pup safe wherever you are — as long as he can listen, of course. This is why it’s important to take your time when training your dog, even if you’re frustrated or feeling behind. Besides, neither one of you will feel good if you’re in a funk, so don’t forget to take breaks, too!

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