Why does my dog know how to 'stay' when I tell him at home, but not at the park?
Although the park is a legal off-leash area, I would never take the leash off when there is a danger present until the dog is 100% reliable on the stay command. If he doesn't know how to stay every place you go, then he doesn't really know how to stay.
More training will help. Set up your training right there in the park. Go back to early stages of 'stay' training for short periods of time. Increase the length time and distance gradually. Put a 30 foot leash on your dog and if he breaks his stay, just call him, reel him in with the leash, and give him your reward. Retractible leashes are good for this purpose as well.
How do I make my dog sit long enough to teach him to stay? He gets up and wants to play.
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You may be walking too far away from your dog too soon. Stand directly in front of your dog with his nose almost touching you. That's how close you should start out. You can even hold on to his collar gently. Only when you are confident that he will stay, should you back up a step or two. Never go farther away unless you are sure he is going to stay. If he doesn't, you need to move closer again for a period of time because he is not ready yet.
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